Bulk substrate colonization

Bulk substrate colonization DEFAULT

All Of RR's Notes On Mushroom Cultivation


Roger Rabbit

compiled by dumbfounded1600

polish transl. http://www.psilosophy.info/itdonbuacfcianfqcdarczbj

original source: https://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Number/8468463/fpart/all/vc/1

Table of Contents:



LIGHTING COLONIZATION - Incubating dark is another thing in Paul Stamets 'The Mushroom Cultivator' that needs to go away. The old advice of "incubate in total darkness" is bunk. Those words were written by Stamets in TMC 20 years ago, and he disavows that advice today. There is no harm or benefit from keeping jars in the dark. Expose them to normal room lighting from day one. There is no reason at all to ever have your mycelia in the dark. Darkness will only delay pinning. If you give light from day one, your yields will go up, and you won't face overlay problems. I've found no benefit or harm from allowing the grain jars to be exposed to light from day one. If a few pins form in the grains, it is actually a good thing. Contrary to popular belief, a few pins in the grains can be spawned right into the manure or straw (or used in grain to grain transfers) and they do not rot or otherwise cause contamination. There is evidence they actually help to give a faster, more uniform pinset in the eventual flushes. Stamets believes it's the hormones or other chemical triggers in the pins that do this. Exposing light from day one, one jar out of a hundred will make an early pin or two, but I simply spawn those pins right into bulk substrate along with the grains with zero ill effects. (In other words, small pins don't contaminate when spawned to bulk along with the grains). Twenty years ago, Stamets wrote in TMC to "incubate in total darkness" and people stick to that as if they were the words of god. However, Stamets no longer teaches incubation in darkness, and I agree. If you visit fungi perfect, you'll see 10,000 square feet of incubation area, with 8' fluorescent tubes lighting the entire area for ten to twelve hours per day. Of course myc will grow in the presents of light. IME myc grows faster in the absence of light also in nature myc colonizing substrate is most always not exposed to light so when we do not know for sure we will try to mimic nature which IMHO is the intelligent thing to do. Paul is a pioneer and is always learning as are we and things (ideas) will change again as we begin to really understand better what nature has given us.

COLONIZATION - And I've been trying to correct that disinformation for years. It's all based on a chart somebody mailed to Stamets many years ago showing 86F to be the peak temperature for growth of cubensis on a Petri dish, and everybody just accepts it as though Moses carried it down from the mountain on a tablet of stone. However, every single experiment I did to try to duplicate that with extremely accurate temperature monitoring was unable to verify that bogus 86F figure. What I have repeatedly found regardless of strain is that cubensis colonization remains rather flat from about 75F through 81F. Beginning at 83F, the rate of growth falls off sharply. By 86F, growth has slowed down nearly 50% what it was between 75f and 81F. These experiments were conducted on Petri dishes that produce little to no heat because of the very thin layer of mycelium. In jars, up to several degrees of heat is produced by the colonizing mycelium; so definitely don't go over 80F to 81F if you're looking for maximum rate of growth. Furthermore, bacteria and thermophilic molds such as Mucor, the black pin mold are stimulated by higher temperatures. Therefore using an incubator set to 86F is certainly favoring bacteria and molds, while slowing down mushroom mycelium growth. Below is a picture of one of my colonization shelves.

It sits in my bedroom at normal room temperature and quart jars of rye berries colonize fully in ten days, and pf jars colonize fully in 14 to 21 days, but usually closer to 14. How often do we see posts where people have incubators set at 86F, and they're asking why their jars aren't colonized after four to five weeks, and they have large spots of yellow liquid forming? The liquid is metabolites that the mycelium secretes in response to stress, usually from competitor molds and/or bacteria. What has happened, is they've slowed down the mycelium while stimulating the competitors.

COLONIZATION - I have found little to no difference in colonization speeds between 75 and 81F. Growth falls off rapidly at 83F and above, not 87F. That chart above [see below] is bogus, period.

I have tried dozens of times to duplicate it and it can't be done. It was apparently made by someone who did ONE grow with sloppy note taking, and sent the results to Paul. Growth is much slower in cold temperatures until you hit 69F, where it speeds up quite a bit until about 75F, where it remains 'flat' until 81, then is flat again until 83, where it falls off fast beginning at 84. By 'flat' I mean there is no discernible increase or decrease in rate of growth within those ranges. Jars will colonize as fast at 75F as they will at 80F. I've proved this time and time again with every strain in my collection. Growth also falls off rapidly above 84, and this is why so many new folks have problems with incubators set at 86F, and jars that 'won't colonize'. The figures I give are substrate temperatures, not air temperatures. The temp inside the jar is 1 to 5 degrees higher than the surrounding air, depending on where in the colonization cycle the jar is. The heat produced falls off fast as the jar approaches full colonization. If you live in an igloo, (or near the waterfront) by all means build an incubator, but keep it in the normal room temperature ranges for best results. I see no reason to set one above 80F, and lots of reasons not to. Here's a picture of one of my shelves for colonizing jars. The substrate bags are there because I ran out of room on the other shelf. These are in a room at normal room temperature, and exposed to light nearly all day. I don't even put the pf jars on a top shelf where it's warmer. Of course, I had a good teacher on how to make them up, as everyone will soon know.

COLONIZATION - I've been saying that for years. My Petri dish studies a few years ago showed that cubensis reaches peak linear growth between 75F and 80F, then is flat until 83F, where it starts to slow down. Mycelium at 86F is growing at about 2/3 the speed of mycelium at 80F. In addition, the higher temps tend to stimulate thermophilic molds and bacteria. There's LOT'S of good information in TMC, but that 86F figure is one of the errors. When I did it there were ten Petri dishes colonizing at each temperature, in separate containers. I went through well over 200 Petri dishes of mycelium for no other reason than to determine the temperature that stimulates fastest growth, other factors being equal. That was a far more controlled study than the one reported over 20 years ago. If someone else wants to repeat the experiment, go for it. I consider the matter closed. Paul doesn't even repeat that 86F figure, which someone else sent him. Bottom line was the tubs that had Petri dishes between 75F and 81F showed no difference in growth. Below 75F, and above 81F growth slowed down, with a rapid drop in colonization speed below 70F and above 83F. At 86F, a Petri dish would be 2/3 colonized, while its sister at 75F would be fully colonized. Rate of growth at 86F was exactly the same as rate of growth at 72F, with fastest growth as said, occurring between 75F and 81F. Note that these tests were for linear growth in the two-dimensional plane of a Petri dish. In three-dimensional space such as in grain jars or bulk substrates, the effects of thermogenesis need to be considered, so ambient temps should be lowered slightly to compensate.

TEMPERATURE COLONIZATION - 80-83F is optimal growth incubation temperature but anything past 81-83F increases the chances of thermophiles a.k.a contamination/bacteria. The 86F myth is based on a flawed agar study where heat isn't generated on Petri dishes. Mycelia growth declines rapidly at 86F and above. Paul Stamets later reviles that that is misinformation and should be lower. If it drops into the 60's however your speed of colonization will go slowly. 75-78F or at room temperature in the 70's is perfect for jars. If you're comfortable in a t-shirt in your house the jars are ok. Heating jars in incubator causes a lot of condensation, condensation is where the inside 'Temperature' differs from the outside. This has nothing to do with humidity. Condensation is the enemy of mushroom cultivation. It breeds bacteria and any moisture that is stuck to the walls is moisture that is NOT in the air any more, making your crop suffer. You should read up every week about how many noobs come in asking if they've cooked there jars because there temperature met all the way to the 100F +. This is why I disagree as well as speeding up a few days later, why? To run into more problems? For bulk substrates I wouldn't go higher then 80F as they already create enough heat by themselves.

COLONIZATION - 80F is fine for incubating, but don't exceed 81F or growth will slow. 86F is not optimal for cubensis. Stamets quoted somebody else who supposedly put out some Petri dishes in various temperatures and reported that to him, so he printed it. I've tried to duplicate that experiment, and after several times, I reached the positive conclusion that mycelium rate of growth is fairly flat from 75F to 83F, with it falling off sharply at 84F and above. It should also be noted that glass is an insulator, so the heat produced by the mycelium has no place to go and can easily spiral up into the range where growth falls off and thermophilic molds are encouraged. That's why I recommend normal room temperature for incubation, even if it is a tad slower. The benefits of a lower contamination rate far outweigh the extra day or two earlier they might colonize at a slightly warmer temperature. Besides, you should be waiting a week after full colonization anyway before birthing or spawning in order to allow the mycelium to consolidate its hold on the substrate.

COLONIZATION - I have not used an 'incubation chamber' in several years. If you maintain your house at normal indoor temperatures, your projects will do just fine. There is certainly no need to incubate jars over 80F, and to do so raises contaminant risks considerably. The inside of your jars will be 3 to 4 degrees warmer than the surrounding air. If you heat a chamber up to 86, your jars will be near 90, and much more likely to contaminate. I colonize on a bookshelf in a spare bedroom, and no attempt is taken to prevent the jars from receiving normal room lighting. I then fruit in a small greenhouse type enclosure with no heat applied during the growing process. If it's deep winter and your room is a bit cold, run a small space heater to heat the entire room to 75 or so. That temperature will work just fine for colonization, as well as fruiting. There's no need to make growing any harder than it already is. Keep it simple.

COLONIZATION - Do you know of one place in nature where cubes fruit naturally that does not have a difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures? I've read ever since 1985 that 86F is best, usually because of somebody simply repeating what they've read somewhere, then somebody repeats that, and so on and so on. Now, over 20 years later, they're still repeating it, and it's still wrong. In my grow room, the day and night temperatures fluctuate as much as 20F. When I say normal room temperature that means 72F to 78F. There is zero increase in rate of growth of cubensis above 80F, and mushroom mycelium often stalls out and bacteria is encouraged in warm anaerobic environments, such as is found in the bottom of non-vented tubs commonly used as 'incubators'.

COLONIZATION STORY - Let me tell you guys a story. My fellow moderator Roadkill and I were filming a video segment on pf jars over at my brother's house a month or two ago. Later that day, my non-mycologist brother moved everything we left behind out to his garage, jars included, just to get them out of the way. I told him it didn't really matter, as I just wanted to film the process of making/inoculating the jars. Three weeks later, I went over there and guess what? All of the jars were fully colonized. The temperature of his garage during this time varied from the mid 30's to the low 50's. (He lives about 50 miles from the Canadian border) So, if properly made pf jars can colonize in three weeks at those low temps, why bother with silly incubators?

INCUBATION - Mycelium will not colonize faster at 86F. That is flat out wrong. The state of growing mushrooms has progressed way past what was thought 25 years ago. Furthermore, the incorrect information presented 25 years ago said that 86F was an optimal SUBSTRATE temperature, not air temperature. Since there is up to a ten-degree increase in substrate temp over air temp, based on those 25-year-old figures, you should colonize at no more than 76F ambient air temperature. However, maximum mycelium growth occurs at a substrate temperature of 80F to 82F, with a drop off in colonization speed above that. Anyway, this has all been covered to death already, so there's no need to repeat it all over again.

COLONIZATION - Incubators cause way more problems then they solve. I haven't used one in years. Glass is an insulator and holds heat very well. I've seen up to a ten-degree increase over ambient in the temperature inside the quart jars of grains, when a thermocouple is inserted into the center of the jar. The other problem with using a tub as an incubator is stale air. It does little good to have filters and holes in your lids if they all just vent into a sealed tub. Normal room temperature is fine for colonization of mycelium. Colonization speed peaks in the 75F to 81F range, and falls off dramatically above 83F. Stamets published a chart in one of his books that said 86F is the fastest for growth, and that is just plain wrong.

INCUBATING/COLONIZATION - Normal room temperature is the way to colonize jars. People who build incubators have a higher rate of contamination and other problems and those who succeed only have a minor decrease in colonization times. 75F to 80F is perfect for colonizing, and you should be able to find a nice place in your house that has that temperature, such as a top cupboard shelf in your kitchen or an upper bookshelf in the den. Colonizing jars need gas exchange that they don't get in a sealed tub.

COLONIZATION - A fan helps humans to cool off because it speeds up the evaporation of sweat from our skin. A fan will not make your jars any cooler at all because there are no sweat glands on glass. Find a cooler spot. That could be against the concrete floor in the garage or wherever. Placing your jars on a cookie sheet full of cold tap water should help bring the temp down as well. You could fill it just before you go to work and by the time the water heats to ambient, you'll be home to change it out with cool water again. Get creative. Just try to keep the temp in the low 80's or less.

COLONIZATION STORY - Last year, while visiting my brother, I inoculated a bunch of jars for him, thinking he was actually interested. This was in December. I went back in February, and found he didn't have time to bother with them, so put them out in the garage. Temps outside were in the teens and twenties, and in the unheated garage, 30's to low 40's. The jars were fully colonized. I took them home and they fruited like mad. Low temps slow things down, but that's all. I keep master culture slants in the refrigerator for years.

COLONIZATION - There is no need to keep them dark. I'd suggest tossing out that sweet looking incubation chamber and let them colonize on a bookshelf at 74F to 78F. Don't shake ANY jars at inoculation, and don't shake pf jars ever. I also don't buy into the turning them upside down thing either unless you made them too wet or they're water logged on the bottom. The CO2 exchanges just fine out the top during colonization via the air currents that are created by the heating that is caused by thermogenesis.

COLONIZATION - The science of mycology is progressing very fast, and what was written 25 years ago isn't necessarily accurate today. Perhaps if you got one of stamets' later works, you'd see he no longer uses that 84F to 86F figure, nor does he recommend incubating in total darkness. I take it a step farther by recommending against 'incubating' at all, having found over my 35+ years of experience that room temperature is the best compromise between speed of colonization, and contamination prevention.

COLONIZATION - 81F should be considered the maximum 'good performance' ambient temperature in the colonization area for colonizing jars of mushroom mycelium. If your temp is higher than that, try finding a cooler place. Thermal death doesn't occur until much higher than that, but thermophilic molds and bacteria are encouraged at higher temperatures, and the 'rate of growth' of mushroom (cubensis) mycelium falls off sharply beginning at 83F. The oft-quoted figure of 86F is just plain wrong.

COLONIZATION - Wild swings in temperature cause air exchanges between the jars and the outside. If the changes are rapid, they can easily be too much for the filtering material, especially if only dry vermiculite is used. I don't recommend incubators, but find a nice room that holds at least to within five degrees or so. 75F to 81F is ideal. Above that, the returns are not worth the increased rate of contamination that will be experienced.

COLONIZATION - 80 to 84 is way too hot to incubate grains. Any temp over 80 will favor molds and bacteria and not mushroom mycelium. One must bear in mind the mycelium produces heat as it grows. If your jars are in an environment of 84F, the inside temp will be over 90F. That reduces the growth of the mushroom mycelium and encourages bacteria. Always incubate grain jars at room temperature. Good luck!

COLONIZATION - Actually, from my experiments, rate of growth falls off rapidly above 83F with cubes. I've found fastest colonization temps to be in the 78F to 81F range (ambient temp). Temperatures above that will stimulate molds and thermophilic bacteria, while actually slowing down mushroom mycelium. A lower colonization temp will give you reduced contamination percentages.

COLONIZATION - My quart sized grain jars from agar wedges or grain-to-grain transfers are fully colonized in ten days to two weeks at normal room temp of 72F to 77F, depending on time of day. If it takes longer than that, something else is wrong. Higher temps slow down mycelium growth while stimulating competitor molds and bacteria.

COLONIZATION - 86F is too hot. That figure comes from an error in Paul Stamets TMC, which was corrected in later books. However, many growers only have TMC, thus refer to it as the bible, as if everything we've learned about mushroom growing since 1985 when artificial cultivation at home was in its infancy is void.

COOLING COLONIZATION/FC - You can also freeze quart sized plastic bottles of water, and place them in your terrarium to absorb heat. If you can keep five or six in your freezer, you can rotate as necessary to keep one or two in the FC at all times during the hot months.

COLONIZATION - Light has little to no effect on colonizing mycelium. I colonize all of my substrates in an open room exposed to ambient room light the whole time. Pinning only begins when fruiting conditions are introduced, other than when something goes wrong.

COLONIZATION - Foil should be removed as soon as they're sterilized. It's important to have gas exchange during colonization, so I don't put them in a box of any kind. My jars colonize on an open bookshelf at normal room temperature.

COLONIZATION IS FOR NOOBS - Get rid of the incubator, and put the jars on a shelf where they can receive normal room light during colonization. This will speed up pinset once you case them. (or birth or whatever)

COLONIZATION - Thus, any ambient temp over 81 for jars or 78 for trays of manure, and you're slowing down mycelium growth while promoting bacteria and thermophilic fungi.

COLONIZATION - Darkness is irrelevant to colonizing mycelium. Don't go over 81F. Room temperature is just fine as long as you keep your house t-shirt warm in winter.

BULK SUBSTRATE COLONIZATION - 80F is too hot for colonization of bulk substrates. The interior of your substrate is well over 90F when ambient is 80F.

COLONIZATION - Mycelium growth slows down at 83F and above, so you're hindering growth with that incubator. Use room temperature


JAR FILTERS - When you use type or polyfill or synthetic filter disks (best) you drill three or four 1/8" (1mm) holes for gas exchange and screw the lid down tight. I use the lids upside down, so the metal is against the glass, but that is just to make them easier to get off later. The rubber tends to stick, making it a chore to lift the lid when you need to open the jar. The jar will always be at the same pressure as the rest of the PC, so there is no problem there. When I sterilize water or test tube slants, I screw the lid down tight with no filter or vent holes. It's not a problem, provided you don't ever pop the weight off the PC at the end of the cycle before pressure has returned slowly to zero on its own.

FILTERS GRAINS - Tyvek is functional and cheap or free. However, synthetic filter disks last for many years and thousands of uses. Tyvek tends to get ripped at the edges of the lid, often resulting in only one use. It can also twist, making the lid very hard to get off later for G2G or other procedures. The time spent cutting tyvek to shape each time will easily outweigh any cost advantage. Even though I sell tyvek on my website, I still prefer filter disks.

FILTERS - Mycologists have used cotton filters at least since the 1930's. It's a proved filter material. The cotton must be kept totally dry, as must any filter material. Synthetic pillow stuffing is better, as are synthetic filter disks and/or tyvek. Coffee filters are for coffee. Using one as a contaminant barrier would be like trying to use a chain link fence as a mosquito barrier.

FILTERS - I think you should run an experiment and give us a report. It's so cheap, I toss it out after a use or two. One pair of XXXL coveralls will make over 200 filters. Synthetic filter disks, which are PFTE, can withstand bleach hundreds of times, which I know for a fact.

FILTER - We filter our colonizing jars because sterile, uncolonized substrates will grow whatever lands on them. There is no reason or need to filter a fruiting chamber. Aquarium pumps and air stones will not deliver nearly enough air exchange for good results.

COFFE FILTER GRAIN JARS - In addition, trying to stop contaminants with a coffee filter is like trying to stop a bird with a barbed wire fence. Look at a coffee filter under a microscope. The holes in it are ten times or more the size of contaminant spores.

COFFEE FILTER - First of all, trying to stop contaminants with a coffee filter is like trying to stop a mosquito with a barbed wire fence. Two coffee filters are like having two strands of barbed wire. Is that going to stop a mosquito???

COFFEE FILTERS AS BACTERIA PROTECTORS - Trying to use coffee filters to stop bacteria and trich is like trying to catch a mosquito with a fish net. Isn't going to work.

FILTER - If you're going to use micropore tape as a filter, use two layers.

TAPE - Actually, The tape is only for the sterilization cycle. After that, you can take it off because the dry vermiculite is the filter. Masking tape won't breath. The tape is simply to help keep water out of the holes. If you'll elevate the jars totally out of the water during sterilization, you don't need tape. Simply cover the lids with foil to prevent the condensation that drips off the lid of the kettle or pressure cooker from entering the holes. If you use medical tape such as micropore or other 'breathable' tape, you can leave it in place and inoculate right through it.

MICROPORE TAPE - Probably. The 'micropore' tape is a 3M product. I don't know if it's a trademarked name or not. I suspect breathable medical tape is going to be the same thing, whatever the brand.

MICRO PORE TAPE - The tape goes on BEFORE sterilization. It has no purpose afterwards. It's to prevent water that gets under the foil from penetrating your jars during the sterilization process.

POLYFILL - 'Synthetic cotton' = 'polyfill'

SYNTHETIC FILTER DISK - The bands are what hold the metal lid on. The lid itself isn't threaded with two-piece lid mason jars. You don't want the rye grains to come into contact with the filter disk. Be sure to put the metal lid on first with two 1/8" holes (1mm), then put the filter disk above that, then the metal ring goes on last. This way, when you shake the jars, the grain doesn't get the filter wet with grain juice. A wet filter is a vector for contaminants because they can colonize right through the interior of the filter. Be sure to keep your filter disks dry for best results. Use a glove box, and simply lift one side of the lid enough to squirt the solution in. Squirt it down the side of the glass. Do that in two or three places, then tighten lid. Be sure to use a glove box.

SYNTHETIC FILTER DISKS - I soak synthetic filter disks in a ten percent bleach solution for fifteen minutes before using. It's probably not necessary though since they'll be pc'd anyway on the next cycle. Bleach doesn't hurt them. I have hundreds of synthetic filter disks that are well over ten years old and have yet to have a single one fail.

SYNTHETIC FILTER DISKS GRAIN JARS - They're the best filters you can get. Don't inoculate through them though. Use a glove box and simply lift the lid up and squirt under it. I have some that are six or seven years old and still being used after hundreds of times.

SYNTHETIC FILTER DISKS - Check a local chemical supply. The filter disks are made from PFTE and usually filter down to less than 1 micron. 90mm is a standard size. You might be able to find them from a local, non-mycology related source.

SYNTHETIC FILTER DISKS - You can't beat synthetic filter disks though. They're ten times thicker than tyvek and last a lifetime. I have some that have been through hundreds, perhaps thousands of cycles.

SYNTHETIC FILTER DISKS - Do NOT inject through a filter disk. If you use synthetic filter disks, you'll need to lift the filter up to squirt under it. Do this in a glove box, or in front of a flow hood.

SYNTHETIC FILTER DISKS - Synthetic filter disks are my favorite. I have some from the first batch I ever bought, ten years ago. I still use them after hundreds, if not thousands of times.

SYNTHETIC FILTER DISKS - They all work. My preference is synthetic filter disks because they can be used hundreds or even thousands of times.

SYNTHETIC FILTER DISKS - You need to use the lid under the disk. If you only use a filter disk, the grains will dry out before full colonization.

SYNTHETIC FILTER DISKS - Synthetic filter disks work great for LC, but as with all filters, be sure to keep it dry.

TYVEK - A single layer of good tyvek should be enough. Don't put cotton in the middle of a tyvek sandwich or it will get damp and ruin your day. Use kite tyvek or tyvek from a set of coveralls. Don't use three layers unless you have a lot of holes in the lid. You'll cut off the gas exchange. I drill four 1/8" holes, and use two layers of tyvek, both on the outside of the lid so they stay dry.

TYVEK GRAIN JARS - I've used tyvek coveralls for filter material many times. I doubt that's your problem. Tyvek is used for safety coveralls because it allows the person's sweat vapor to escape, while still providing protection from the toxins.

TYVEK - Don't use post office tyvek for anything but mailing. It's a violation of federal law. Go to your local home mega center, and in the paint department, they'll have tyvek coveralls for five or six bucks. Get a few of those to cut up.

TYVEK GRAIN JARS - Actually, the tyvek goes over the lid, not under it. You want the tyvek on the outside so it stays dry. Put down the lid with small holes in it first, the tyvek second, and lastly the ring to hold it all in place.

TYVEK LIDS - Not only will they dry out that way, they'll cause premature pinning by providing air exchange, as opposed to just gas exchange. You need to at least tape over 90% of the tyvek with duct or shipping tape.

TYVEK - Go to your local home mega center and get tyvek coveralls from the paint department to cut up and use as filters. Post office tyvek is not only illegal to use but subpar as far as performance goes.

TYVEK - Post office tyvek is thinner and not as effective at stopping contaminants as the multi-ply, much thicker tyvek used in wrist sleeves and coveralls.

TYVEK - The tyvek should be OUTside the lids. If you put the tyvek inside the jar, you'll have a much higher contamination ratio.

TYVEK - Tyvek coveralls, wrists leaves are washing machine safe.

KITE SUPPLY STORE. TYVEK - http://www.intothewind.com/search.

COLONIZING JARS/BAGS - I've scanned my crops and colonizing jars and substrate bags with an IR camera and noticed up to five degree F increase in quart jars of rye, and up to a 15F degree increase over ambient when shooting at large gusseted spawn bags, but that was 15F over ambient at the edge of the bag. I'm sure the center was hotter. I usually have up to 200 spawn bags colonizing at any given time on shelves in my grow room, and I never heat it, even in the coldest months of winter. The temperature in the room rarely drops below 75F, even when it's freezing outdoors. We use minimal heat in the rest of the condo as well, simply leaving the grow room door open is enough to supply most of the heat we use.

FLIPPING JARS PF/GRAINS - Don't flip jars. As prisoner said, it screws up the vermiculite filter. CO2 doesn't need to 'drain' out by flipping the jar upside down. That's a bit of disinformation that once typed refuses to die. The reason is the heat produced by the mycelium causes circulation that takes care of the gas exchange.

FLIPPING JARS PF/GRAINS - When you examine them, don't turn them upside down. That can cause the vermiculite barrier to shift. You can expect there to be contaminant spores near the air/inoculation holes, and if you shift the jar around, those mold spores can be shifted down and into the substrate, contaminating it.

COLONIZING JARS - Bear in mind, a substrate on the dry side will colonize faster than an overly wet one, so if your jars didn't colonize, something else might be wrong. It's also a good idea in a dry climate to run a humidifier in the room your grow is located to raise the ambient humidity.

COLONIZATION/INCUBATING GRAIN JARS - The moisture comes from condensation on the lid of the pressure cooker that constantly rains down on the jars below. That's the reason for the foil. I'd start over and get it right. Don't waste spores getting off on the wrong foot.

PF CAKES - Cakes often pin on the bottom because that's where the moisture runs to by gravity and also it's closer to the perlite, thus the humidity is higher and stimulates pinning.

COLONIZATION - Grains colonize much faster when prepared on the dry side. I do it that way by design. If you see visible moisture on the surface of the grains, they're too wet.

GRAINS/SUBSTRATE - Most often, if a cased substrate smells of alcohol. Some fermentation has, or is taking place.

COLONIZING JARS - If the mycelium runs out of O2, it will stall and die.

G2G TRANSFERS - One should never use a jar that isn't at least 100% colonized for a grain-to-grain transfer. The biggest reason is that since sterilization is a relative term, it's never complete. You have a window of opportunity to get your grains colonized before the contaminants that survived pressure-cooking come back to haunt you. If you grain to grain with uncolonized grains, you add their age to the age of all the grains in the receiving jar, possibly contaminating them all. The difference between 100% colonization and 80% colonization should be no more than two days, so don't risk failure for a measly 48 hours.

SPAWNING G2G - Bang the colonized jar against a tire or phone book to separate the kernels. Next, open each freshly sterilized rye jar one at a time, and pour and twist from the grain master to deliver a small amount into each receiving jar. Try to have the receiving jars open for no more than five seconds, so plan ahead and work fast. Clean all jars with alcohol before opening. Wear latex gloves and wash them with alcohol after putting them on. As said above, use a glove box, or even better of course is a laminar flow hood. Good luck.

G2G GENERATIONS - It was ANNO that pointed out - young vigorous mycelium does better than old. However, I have gone out 5 G2G transfer generations - without ill effect. Genetics plays a part in it. In nature - mycelium is designed to grow out & fruit in one season. You can FOOL with Mother Nature - but extending it to far out - usually brings on some mutation.

G2G TRANSFERS - When you do a g2g, unscrew the ring, then with your thumb and forefinger, squeeze the ring so you capture the lid and the filter and lift all three as one unit. Pour from the donor jar to the open receiving jar, and then replace the lid as one unit. Have the receiving jar open for no more than a few seconds when doing this.

G2G TRANSFERS - I shake the master jar to loosen the kernels, and then do the g2g right away. After the transfer, gently shake the receiving jar, and then shake again at 20 to 30 percent colonization. I never wait for the grains to recover before shaking or g2g. They'll recover right into the fresh grains of the receiving jar. Good luck.

G2G TRANSFERS - Four grain-to-grain transfers should be considered the outside limit, but chances are you'll see growth slow before then anyway. Cloning from the third would make it the fourth, and wouldn't help. Go back to spores. A given cell line can only divide so many times before loss of vigor sets in.

G2G TRANSFERS - Never use a jar that pins early for grain-to-grain transfers. Usually, something is the trigger for early pinning, such as bacterial contamination. I know you don't g2g brf jars, but had it been a grain jar, you wouldn't want to use if for transfers.

G2G TRANSFERS - You can generally use a fully colonized grain jar to inoculate up to ten times that amount of sterilized grains. How many bags per jar simply depends on what size spawn bag you used, and what size jars your grains are in.

LC > G2G - Fastest colonization I ever had is with G2G.

SHAKING GRAIN JARS - I disagree with more than one shake during colonization. A shake at 20% to 40% will spread those kernels around, ensuring the rest is colonized within a few days. After shaking, there's a 24 to 48 hour period where the mycelium is merely trying to recover from damage, but isn't growing into the new grains. If you shake more than once, you force the mycelium to waste needless energy re-knitting, when it could be aggressively growing. The same applies at the end. Shake to loosen the grains, and then spawn them to your tray of manure or straw, etc. Let them recover directly into the manure or casing layer. If you shake, then allow to recover, they're damaged again by spawning, so must recover yet again. My point is that shaking is abusive, but a necessary abuse. Simply keep it to a minimum.

SHAKING GRAIN JARS - From my tests, it actually slows down colonization, by forcing monokaryons to reach out farther before finding a compatible mate. Dikaryons colonize and feed much faster than monokaryons. By shaking, you disperse the ungerminated spores over a larger area. I prefer to inject, and then let the jars or bags sit for several days until you see germination, or if you inoculate with an agar wedge, wait until the mycelium has moved off the wedge and into the grains before shaking. If you do the above, only one shake is required during the whole process.

SHAKING GRAIN JARS - When you shake a jar, it will 'look' uncolonized for a few days until it recovers. You only need to shake once at 20% to 30% colonization. Your second and fourth jar above look about done. Give them a few days past full colonization before spawning to bulk. The third jar needs a few days. They'll all look like the first jar after shaking. That's normal. Shake just before spawning by banging the jar against a tire, and then layer into your manure or whatever you're using as bulk. The mycelium on the grains will recover right into the substrate.

SHAKING GRAIN JARS - You need to break it up at 20% to spread the mycelium around so it can inoculate the rest of the rye. It will speed colonization up. If the mycelium fails to recover after breaking it up, it means the grains were contaminated anyway. Read up on 'shaking'. That's what we do with rye grain jars. I use a bicycle tire to bang the jar against to break it up. With bags, simply massage the bag between your fingers to break up the clumps and spread them around the bag.

SHAKING GRAIN JARS - If you shook right after inoculation, it will be fuzzy at first. I suggest inoculating and NOT shaking for at least a week. By shaking, you spread the spores around, forcing monokaryotic mycelium to hunt for a mate. If you let the spores germinate right next to each other, they form bonds and become dikaryotic in the first few days after germination, and then grow with the thicker, rhizomorphic mycelium.

SHAKING GRAIN JARS - Shaking right after inoculation is a mistake. You should allow the spores to germinate in close proximity to each other so they can pair up and become dikaryotic. Monokaryotic mycelium is thinner and much slower growing than dikaryotic mycelium. By shaking the jar, you required it to colonize with the slower growing monokaryons.

SHAKING GRAIN JARS - The best way to break up a grain jar is to beat the hell out of it against a fully inflated tire. I use a bicycle tire and air it up nice and hard before use. Half a dozen bangs usually separates every kernel from every other kernel. If not, it's a good sign your jar was contaminated with bacteria, which makes the kernels stick together like rubber.

SHAKING GRAIN JARS - Grains should NOT be shaked after inoculation with spores. Monokaryotic mycelium grows far slower than dikaryotic mycelium. It's best to inject the spores and leave them to pair up in close proximity to each other. Once they pair up and become dikaryotic, shake once to distribute the grains, which speeds up colonization.

SHAKING GRAINS - Grains should only be shaken once during colonization. More than that slows down progress. Shake at anywhere from 15% to 30%. The grains will begin to show recovery by 24 hours, and by 48 hours, things should be growing rapidly again. You'll have to shake again after full colonization to remove the grains.

SHAKING GRAIN JARS - If the grains don't break up easily when banged against a tire, it's a good sign that they're contaminated with bacteria. It is even more likely since you're using an incubator. Grain jars; especially quarts should never be placed in an incubator, but rather allowed to colonize at normal room temperature.

SHAKING COLONIZED GRAIN JARS - Colonized grain jars break apart very easily by banging against a fully inflated bike tire, and you NEVER want to scoop out grains. It damages the kernels, leaving them open for bacteria, and adds an additional vector of contamination to the process.

SHAKING - Never hold a jar in one hand while holding a camera in the other. That doubles the amount of shaking going on, screwing up the picture. Put the jar down. Rest the camera on a chair, book, or something else if you don't have a tripod.

SHAKING - Shaking always makes them look 'uncolonized' because it beats the mycelium on the surface of the grain. After a few days, as you found out, they recover. You should only shake a grain jar once at 25 to 35 percent colonized.

SHAKING GRAINS COLONIZING - There is no need to shake more than once. Three times is mycelium abuse. Please continue the same thread for ideas along the same lines. Don't start a new thread with each question.

SHAKING GRAIN JARS - Shake at about the 25% stage. Shaking prior to that only batters the myc & then it takes time to heal & start growing again. You ever hand a black eye? How long did it take to heal?

SHAKING GRAIN JARS - Grain jars shouldn't be filled more than 2/3 to 3/4 full to allow room for shaking. If you'll bang the jars against a fully inflated bicycle tire, the kernels will separate easily.

SHAKING - A quart jar of healthy mycelium on rye that is shaken at 25% will be completely colonized three to four days later. If not, something is wrong.

SHAKING GRAIN JARS - Shake jars well at 20% to 30% colonized to spread the grains around. They're usually fully colonized four to five days later.

SHAKING GRAINS - Remember, when things look fine until you shake, then don't recover, it's almost always bacteria.

SHAKING GRAIN JARS - Shake, and if it recovers it's fine. If not, it was contaminated.

SPAWN BAGS - I really hate to disagree, but it's best to not shake at all just after inoculation. Leave the spore solution all in one spot so the monokaryons can find compatible hyphae nearby and do the sex thing. Once you have solid white mycelium growing, those are the dikaryons and they grow much faster than the wispy, grayish monokaryons that emerge from the spores. Many new growers mistake these for cobweb mold and toss out perfectly good projects because they shake at inoculation. If you shake the bag or jar early, you force the slow growing monokaryons to colonize much more of the substrate before finding a mate, thus slowing down the progress. I'd recommend giving the first and only shake at 30% colonization.

STORING GRAINS/PETRIS - Actually, grains have been found better for mycelium storage than agar slants, but unfortunately take way too much room in the refrigerator. However, I've used jars that have been stored fully colonized in the refrigerator for several years. Put them in the refrigerator at full colonization, and then when you remove from the refrigerator, allow three to five days at room temperature before spawning.

STALLED GRAIN JARS - In the overwhelming majority of cases when a jar stalls, it's due to lack of gas exchange. Make sure the holes are open on the lids. If you have a vermiculite barrier, you can loosen the lids or even remove them for a time. Jars rarely dry out.

GRAINS STORING - You can store colonized grains in the refrigerator, or use them for grain-to-grain transfers to expand your mycelium. Correct, removing jars from the refrigerator requires a couple of days of warm up before they start growing again.

SPAWNING - Make thin layers so they fill in the gaps quickly. I've found this has less of a chance of breaking kernels of grain spawn, which can allow contaminants to get a foothold in the uncolonized part in the middle.

STALLING JARS - They don't 'stall' without a reason. Either it ran out of air due to no holes for gas exchange, or it's contaminated with bacteria. You can't spawn uncolonized grains or the bulk is sure to contaminate.

SPAWN BAGS - Unless it's a HUGE bag, don't use over three to five ml of spore solution or liquid. More than that will be too much and throw off your moisture content.

STORING GRAIN JARS - They can sit for a couple of weeks at normal room temperature after full colonization without harm.

RYE GRASS SEED - Use twice as much grass seed by volume as water. For a 1-quart jar, use 1 1/4-cup rye grass seed, and 5/8-cup water. Add a pinch of gypsum between your thumb and forefinger per jar. Put a solid lid on the jar and shake well. Allow to sit for an hour or two, and then shake again. Replace the solid lid with a filtered lid, and PC for an hour at 15 psi. Rye grass seed makes an excellent grain master, because you can easily do a grain-to-grain transfer into 20 jars. I won't go over ten jars with rye berries. It's also a great spawn to bulk substrates, because of all the inoculation points. It also seems less susceptible to trichoderma then the larger rye berries. We usually don't recommend it to new growers because it often takes quite a few tries to get the moisture right. If it's too wet, the mycelium can't colonize. Ditto if it's too dry. The above plan should work out for you though.

RYE GRASS SEED - Rye grass seed needs to be mixed with half as much water by volume as you have grass seed. For a quart jar, I use 1 1/4 cup of grass seed, and 5/8 cup of water. Add a pinch of gypsum between your thumb and forefinger per jar. Half the amount of water can be substituted with brewed coffee. I put a solid lid on the jar after mixing and shake well. Allow to sit over night, and then shake again. Replace the solid lid with a filtered lid and PC for an hour at 15psi.

PREARING RYE - It's irrelevant. I bring rye to a raging boil after the 24-hour soak, with the stove on 'high', and have ZERO busted kernels. As shown in the video, rinse grains very well with hot tap water before the soak. Fill the kettle with hot tap water to begin the soak. Add gypsum. After 24 hours, bring to a raging boil for five to ten minutes, then drain and shake. I've never seen more than one kernel in a thousand busted when following the above.

RYE GRAIN - After a 24-hour soak, I once accidentally left the water in a rapid boil for nearly an hour. There were no burst kernels and they weren't any fatter than they'd have been after a ten-minute boil. I used them and they were fine. The secret against cracked kernels is to soak the grains first, and then to heat the water and grains together slowly.

RYE GRASS SEED - Rye grass seed is also excellent for spawning to bulk, and very cheap too. It's a bit trickier to prepare, but goes a long way when used for grain to grain transfers or for spawning to bulk substrates.

RYE GRASS SEED VS RYE BERRIES - I doubt you can get grass seed to fruit, although it makes excellent spawn. You want rye grain. Copes need the grains to be spawned into manure.

WBS - I gave up on wbs due to the inconsistent types of seed in it. It works, but rye is much better and only costs about 5 cents per quart jar if you buy it in 25 pound bags.

RYE GRASS SEED - If you simmer rye grass seed, you will ruin it. Soak only.

FLIPPING JARS - If the bottoms didn't colonize due to bacterial contamination, it will have no effect. If the jars didn't colonize due to excessive moisture that ran to the bottom, it will help, by draining it to the other end of the jar. Some growers think flipping upside down is to release CO2, but this is incorrect. The heat produced by the mycelium produces circulation that does that job. I've never yet had a jar that wouldn't colonize the bottom, provided it was made correctly to begin with, using the proper amount of water AND the correct jars, which you don't have. BRF cakes do best in short fat jars, such as wide mouth half-pints.

PF TEK JARS - The biggest cause of failure with pf tek is not following proper sterile procedure. You the cultivator are the biggest single source of contamination, so be very careful. Thousands of bacteria are exhaled from your mouth with every breath, so wear a surgical mask. Millions of bacteria reside under your fingernails, so wear gloves, and wash them with alcohol before use. Use a glove box, and flame the needle of your syringe red hot before use. Alcohol might clean the outside of the needle, but contaminants can enter into the center of the needle and not be touched by the alcohol.

LIDS GRAINS - In addition, your order of assembling the lids is incorrect. You want the metal lid with holes first (make the holes no more than 1/8"), followed by the filter material, then the ring. This keeps your filter on the outside of the jar where condensation doesn't get it wet. Remember, if your filter gets wet, you're screwed. Bacteria in the air will colonize right through the material as if it wasn't even there. The reason for making the holes in the lid small is so that when you shake, the wet grains don't contact your filter material. A wet, nutrient saturated filter is sure to contaminate.

GRAIN JARS - Actually, half a teaspoon of bleach in a gallon of water will kill bacteria, but it throws the pH way off, so I don't recommend it at all, especially in grain jars, which prefer an acidic pH. I wouldn't inject water into a grain jar. If they're drying out, chances are, your gas exchange holes are too big. You don't want more than four 1/8" (3mm) holes. You could even get by with smaller holes. I use four 3/32" (2.4mm) holes for both 1/2-pint pf cakes and full quart grain jars. Larger holes can dry out the material and encourage invitro pinning.

GRAIN JAR SIZES - Quart jars are best suited for grains in my experience. Anything less, and there just isn't enough spawn for your bulk substrate. Due to the requirement to leave shaking room, a pint jar can hold more grains than two 1/2 pint jars, and a quart jar can hold more grains than two pint jars. Half-gallon jars are nice, but they really should be colonized at a 45-degree angle to help with gas exchange. I've had a lot of trouble with CO2 concentrations when leaving 1/2-gallon jars standing upright.

GRAIN JAR LID - If you'll drill two or three small, 1/16" holes in the metal lid, the grains will never touch the filter when you shake. A fully inflated bicycle tire works great for banging jars against to break them up. Just make sure you have the tire pumped up nice and hard.

GRAIN JAR LIDS - I recommend using four 1/8" holes for gas exchange. If you use more than that, you run a risk of drying out your grains and/or stimulating pinning inside the jar due to having too much air exchange, as opposed to a small amount of gas exchange.

GRAIN JARS - As said, you soak for bacteria, not molds. If it turned green without opening, then plain and simple, your filter is not doing its job. Look for tears. Is it post office tyvek? If so, that could be the problem. I don't consider it suitable for mycology.

GRAIN JARS - A 1/2" hole in the lid is way too much for a small jar. In fact, with quart jars, I only use three to four 1/16" holes for gas exchange. A large hole will not only dry out your grains, but can lead to pinning before full colonization.

HALF-GALLON MASON JARS - My experience with half gallon and larger jars is they need to be incubated at an angle of 45 degrees to allow for gas exchange. They get stagnant standing upright with the lid/filter only on top.

RUSTY LIDS - Rusty Lids: It's harmless to the mushrooms and to you if eaten. Just don't cut your finger on the rusty lid. Lockjaw sucks.

PF CAKE JAR - Use 1 ml total for a 1/2-pint cake.

SIMMER OR NOT TO SIMMER - The above posts prove there are many ways to skin the proverbial cat. The important thing is to have the grains at twice their original dry size, with no burst kernels and no excess moisture in the jars.
After a 24-hour soak, the grains are fully hydrated, but personally, I boil for a few minutes after the soak for one reason-It allows the grains to steam off the excess moisture from the surface as the rest of the water drains in the colander. By shaking the colander, the grains release the excess moisture as steam.
Experienced growers are all successful and most have evolved their own tek for preparing the grains. As long as your grains seem dry on the outside, and are twice the original size without burst kernels, they are ready for the pressure cooker, regardless of how one goes about reaching that point. Some growers even dry the grains off with a towel.
I would say to any new grower to read the way the experienced cultivators do things and try a few ways. After you pressure cook your product, don't hesitate to toss it out without inoculating if things don't look right, and start over. Try, and then try again until you get it right. Once you find a method that works for you, stick with it.
Good luck.

JARS PRESSURE COOKER - It's really not about jars breaking, although sometimes they will. Here is the reason: At 15psi, the temperature in your PC and inside the jars is 250F. If you quick cool the PC, the substrate or whatever is in your jars is still at 250F, but now the pressure is gone. As we all know, water boils at 212f at sea level pressure. That means that the moisture in your jars will boil off. It will continue to boil off until the temperature of the substrate cools below 212F. There's an excellent chance that you will have destroyed the moisture content you worked hard to get right before sterilization. If you quick cool with bags, the filter won't expel the steam fast enough, so the bags inflate and burst, spilling whatever is in them. When the instructions say you can quick cool, you must bear in mind they don't build PC's for mushroom growers. They build them for kitchen food use.

PCING GRAIN JARS - Lids tight. If they're loose, there's a chance that contaminants will be drawn into the jar as the PC cools at the end of the cycle. Air in the jar won't expand and need to escape because the air in the pressure cooker is under the same pressure, thus it's equalized. It's best to let steam escape for a few minutes before placing the weight on or closing the toggle if it's a sterilizer, but don't let it go too long. Anytime steam is escaping from the PC, it's also letting moisture escape from your jars. If the PC is blowing steam wildly, it's also blowing steam wildly from your jars, possibly blowing the filter material and/or drying out your grains. This is the reason you never want to pop the weight off at the end of the cycle to let the steam out.

RELEASING PRESSURE PC GRAINS - One should never release pressure immediately after the cycle. The very rapid cool down from 250F to 212F while the grains or other substrate inside of the jars is still 250F will cause many jars to break. Furthermore, water at 250F must be under pressure to exist in the liquid state. Therefore, when you release pressure, you also release moisture from the substrate. That is a fact of physics. It can be made up for by adding more water to begin with, but now you're forced to figure out how much is going to be lost. That is beyond the reach of the new folks trying to learn so many other facets of the hobby. It's far better to tell them to NOT release pressure early to remove one more variable from the equation.

PRESSURE COOKING JARS - Jars should be inoculated as soon as possible after sterilization. I wish people would quit saying the jars need to cool past the point when they're cool to the touch. They do NOT stay warm on the inside of the jar longer than the outside by more than a few minutes at most. The water permeates every part of a grain or brf jar, and water is an excellent heat transferrer. If the jar itself is cool to the touch, then the insides will be also, and that includes the middle. Think about it. If you have a cup of coffee get cold from sitting out too long, it isn't still hot in the center.

NO NEED TO SIMMER - LOL the soak / simmer thing is something we all go through. My experience with "simmering" grains almost always led to mushy - sticky grains & on occasion - wet spot contamination - in jars. I prefer WBS because of its low cost & availability - everywhere. No simmer is necessary with WBS. Just experimenting around, I have supplemented WBS spawn with rye (5 % per batch), rape seed (5%) & cracked corn (5%) & had great results.

PCING GRAINS - PC'ing does not remove water from the grains unless you screw up and pop the weight off at the end of the cycle to let steam out. In addition, grains prepared on the dry side will colonize much faster than wet grains.

BURSTED KERNALS - Attempting to make your mycelium colonize busted kernels is like trying to get your car to drive cross-country on two flat tires-possible, but not recommended for good performance and speed.

STERILIZING GRAINS - I recommend 120 minutes for quart jars of grains to take care of bacteria.

SOAKING GRAINS - If you soak overnight, with the soak beginning in hot tap water, you can boil the grains for an hour or two and the kernels won't bust. They also won't take on any more water. Once the kernel is saturated, it doesn't absorb any more, no matter how long you boil. After the soak, add hot tap water to the soak water if necessary to fill the kettle as full as you can before placing on the stove. Heat to boiling, and then after several minutes, pour the water off. Shake the colanders so the steam can evaporate off the kernels, drying them. That's the main purpose of the boil, besides killing the germinated bacteria before pouring it down the drain. It also gives the grains sort of a pre-sterilization prior to the PC cycle. Don't skip the gypsum. It's worth a trip to the nursery.

SOAKING GRAINS - I soak anywhere from 4 to 24 hours. It really doesn't make much difference. The grains are only going to absorb so much, so you'll never over-hydrate by boiling. After a few hours to overnight soak, I let the pot boil for five to ten minutes, then drain into the colander. The steam that evaporates off the grains will dry the outside while the water runs down the drain. If you'll toss the colander around with the grains a few times to make them steam off, they're ready to load in twenty minutes. Gypsum serves two purposes. It adds calcium and sulfur, both essential mushroom nutrients, and helps prevent the grains from sticking and clumping up.

SOAKING GRAINS - 18 / 24 hour soak is a must do thing. Long a soak as possible, so long as WBS doesn't ferment (smell very badly), sprout, or rot is best. No simmer needed. If you have some aged / leached / steer / horse manure around, either brew some into tea, or add softball size handful into a nylon stocking (doubled up - several times) & add cup of strained tea, or use nylon stocking bag - like tea bag & leave it in the soak & stir halfway through soak. Adds significant N to soak water, which WBS absorbs & myc loves. You will get bigger better - everything.

GRAINS COFFEE SOAK - Use weak liquid coffee to soak your grains AFTER rinsing them in hot tap water. Rinse before the soak, not after. Once you've soaked in water or weak coffee, bring the soak water to a boil with the rye in it. It's all described in the tek posted above, and also on the video. I've used coffee grinds in grains, but there's little benefit. It's better as a substrate ingredient.

GRAIN SOAK PEROXIDE - It would be a waste to use peroxide in the soak water for two reasons. One, you want the bacterial endospores to germinate and grow during the soak, so the pressure cooker can kill them. Two, peroxide breaks down very fast in the presence of organic materials, so it would likely do nothing at all anyway. It would be long gone by the time you boil.

GRAINS SOAKING - I suggest a bit of hydrated lime if you're soaking in weak coffee, due to the acidity of the coffee. Use no more than a teaspoon for 2 gallons of soak water. If you're soaking in plain water, skip the lime. Use one tablespoon of gypsum per gallon of soak water, regardless of how much grains are in it.

COFFEE SOAKING GRAINS - Yes. Mix it weak. About half or less the normal drinking strength. Add it hot. Use hot water for the rinse and add hot coffee later. The heat prevents the grains from germinating during the soak.

GRAINS SOAKING - As I said above, it isn't necessary to use long soak times with rye or wbs. If rye is used/PC'd before it starts to ferment, I actually like the scent.

COFFEE SOAK - Yes. I add coffee to grains, partly to lower the pH. Mushroom mycelium grows fastest at pH about 5.5 to 6.5.

COFFEE SOAK - If you use too much coffee, it will actually slow down growth.

FUNGICIDES FOR GRAINS/CASINGS - I found no problems when using banrot, and the fruits came out normal. It seems I used 1 tablespoon of Banrot 40WP per five gallons of soak water, but that could probably be reduced. Banrot will prevent fungi spores from germinating, but doesn't affect mycelium. It also seems to prevent bacteria. I once left a freshly sterilized jar of rye berries exposed to the open air for half an hour or so, then closed it up and a month later, it was still contaminant free. However, good sterile procedure renders it unnecessary for grains, and while soaking casing material in it will prevent trich and cobweb, proper pasteurization and good air exchange will also prevent mold on casing layers. I prefer growing without chemicals and am generally an organic gardener. The Banrot experiments were simply experiments. Dried and crushed Rhododendron leaves will also help prevent trichoderma and cobweb in casing layers.

GRAINS - You boiled the rye, but not the millet? Then mixed the two? That gives you two different grains with different levels of hydration. Draining for an hour does nothing. All the water that will drain out from a batch of rye does so within 1 minute. The water that is stuck to the surface of the grains, will make them too wet later. You need to drain after the simmer while the grains are still boiling hot, so you can let the steam dry on the surface. Avoid busted kernels at all costs. None is best. If you have more than just a few, do the batch over. If you've soaked, beginning in HOT tap water, there should be no busted kernels after boiling because they will have softened up. Did you leave the stove on high during the process? If so, your jars probably puked out all the moisture that was in the grains. You're supposed to turn down the stove as soon as the weight rattles. Turn it down so the weight either doesn't rattle at all, or rattles once every few minutes at most. Every time the weight rattles, moisture leaves the PC, and a corresponding amount of moisture leaves each jar of grains. That is basic physics.

GRAINS PREPARATION - One of the secrets of grain preparation, regardless of which grain, is to rinse the kernels very well before continuing with whatever preparation tek you're going to use. All grains get packaged with a lot of chaff and grain dust that if not rinsed out will cause the grains to stick together later and cause that sticky goo. Put your dry grains in a large kettle and fill with water as you stir it around. You'll see all the dust and other crap come floating up. Slowly dump out the water to get rid of the junk and repeat two more times or until the water pours off clear. Adding gypsum is also a great idea. It will take anyone a few tries to get the moisture content right, regardless of which grain or which tek you follow. If it's too wet this time, make adjustments next time, and so on until you work out your system.

GRAINS - The biggest reason for clumped up grains is the failure to rinse properly BEFORE soaking/simmering/sterilization. Rinse the dry grains so the dry chaff and dust and other debris can rise to the top and be poured off. Give two or three rinses and your grains will be clean and free of the dust that behaves like glue later. The second biggest reason for clumping is failure to use gypsum. If the grains are properly rinsed, and gypsum is added, they will NOT stick together later, even if you let them sit in the pc until they reach room temperature.

GRAINS - I strongly disagree with mixing vermiculite in grain jars. If you have excess moisture, it will soak it up. If you have the correct moisture, it will screw it up by making the grains too dry. The trick is to learn to get the right moisture content. Grains should be totally dry on the surface before loading jars. That's all. It's simple. The moisture inside the grains is what you want. Either use a towel to dry after draining, or drain the grains after a simmer, and toss them around in the strainer so the steam can dry the surface.

GRAINS - Make sure if you get rye from a feed store that it hasn't been treated with fungicides if you plan direct inoculation with spores. Many times, feed grain is treated with fungicides to prolong storage life in damp barns. If you inoculate with agar wedges or LC, the fungicides won't hurt because they only stop spores from germinating. Personally, I only use certified organic rye berries, obtained from a health food bulk supplier. It costs me $8.75 for a 25-pound bag, but it's worth the extra cost, imo.

GRAINS PREPERATION - As said above, prepare you rye properly and don't dilute it with vermiculite. That's a bogus tek to help beginners get away with being sloppy. In addition, because the vermiculite soaks up the excess water, you never learn to prepare grains properly. It's sort of like never taking the training wheels off your bike. They'd look pretty silly on a Harley someday.

GRAINS - 99% is not 100%, and you have no idea if the center of the jars was colonized or not. Uncolonized grains exposed to air = contamination. They should not smell earthy; they should smell like fresh mushrooms. The earthy smell in grains indicates trichoderma or other molds, so there's always the possibility they were already contaminated.

GRAIN WATER CONTENT - It's because fungus grows better on damp things than on wet things. The grains aren't really dry when properly prepared, they just 'look' dry. That allows the most amount of air in the spaces around the grains, thus favoring the mushroom mycelium over bacteria, which prefer a wetter, more anaerobic environment.

GRAINS - It's normal to see what appears to be uncolonized grains where they are pushed up tight against the glass. If that's all it is, they're good to go. Also, sometimes there's foreign material in the grains, so you might even be looking at a small rock or something.

PREPARING GRAIN - I boil in the water they soak in. The main reason for that is to kill off the live bacteria in the soak water before you pour it down your drain. The soak water can make for a pretty stinky kitchen sink drain if you don't boil it before pouring off.

GRAINS - Also, dumping grains into already boiling water as shown there is a mistake that often leads to burst kernels. Grains should be placed in cold water and slowly brought to a boil, or preferably soaked 24 hours to hydrate.

GRAINS - What causes spores to clump up is all that grit, dirt, and dust in their if you don't soak.


CASING - A casing should be a non-nutritious top layer that is placed over a colonized substrate to help induce pinning and to supply moisture to the substrate and the developing fruits. You can use others with nutrition but it's best not to as this will cause overlay if your not careful. A casing of 50% Peat Moss, 40% Vermiculite, 10% Coco Coir is something called CAC' which some commercial growers use. This is fine but once again you have to watch it or it can colonize the casing for being nutrition and what's the point of a casing if it fully colonizes? With uncased substrate, wait for full colonization, and then place in the fruiting chamber. Try to keep humidity at 99%, since uncased substrates should be treated as cakes. Remember, when using a casing layer, we keep the humidity a bit lower to allow some evaporation from the casing, which is replaced by daily misting. A piece of wax paper layed loosely over the uncased substrate will help produce a micro-climate conducive to fruiting, but remember that even though it helps, wax paper is no substitute for a genuine casing layer. Incubate until you see mycelium coming up through about 20 to 30 percent of the casing layer. Sprinkle fresh casing material over that mycelium which is showing (That's what we call patching) and place in the FC. The best casing mix is 50% Peat, 50% Vermiculite, 10% gypsum, Teaspoon per cup of peat of Hydrated Lime. Mix the dry ingredients very well, then slowly bring to field moisture level and pasteurize. Also you can use jiffy mix as all it is Peat/Vermiculite/Lime treated but I see it less valuable as just making your own buying a block of peat moss/vermiculite/hydrated lime/gypsum and not having to deal with other shit or pasteurize. Sunshine Mix #3 also works though. The reason we use lime is to raise the pH and to make the casing layer inhospitable to competitor fungi, which are less tolerant of a high pH than established mushroom mycelium. Gypsum is not used to change pH. Gypsum contains both calcium carbonate and sulfur, thus it tends to keep the pH near neutral, preventing swings as the metabolites try to push the pH down. Calcium carbonate or hydrated lime is not used to counter the effect of the metabolites. As said above, that's what the gypsum does. Use gypsum on substrates such as compost or horse manure, but don't use lime. Save the lime for the casing mix, where you should use gypsum and lime together. Gypsum is added to help keep the kernels separated after sterilization and to provide calcium and sulfur, basic elements promoting mushroom metabolism. Using both these will keep contaminants at bay. What you want is a short term (Hydrated Lime) because the life of a casing is measured in weeks instead of months or years. Use hydrated lime to get the ph right at the start, and use gypsum at a rate of ten percent to the peat in your casing to prevent ph swings later. Pickling lime is hydrated lime. It's my favorite, and many commercial grow operations DO use it. Don't use limestone; limestone is for long-term use, such as in a garden. Casings, which flush for a month or so, do not need long-term ph adjustment. They need short term, therefore hydrated lime is what you would want to use. The most critical time for contaminants to enter a casing is during the initial colonization and first flush stages. Once the layer is fully colonized, it's very contaminant resistant. This is why we use Lime/Gypsum. A common contaminant that occurs in casings is the 'Cobweb Mold' which isn't toxic just very annoying that thrives in old stale air. You can melt this using 3% peroxide over the casing. It will not hurt the casing one bit; it's just annoying because you have to keep on it. Don't go easy spray as much as you can. Not in the one spot! Spray the entire casing. Bacteria in a bulk substrate are not a contaminant. Commercial mushroom farms toss out any fruits that have bacterial blotch growing on the fruits themselves. However, having bacteria present in the substrate is not a cause for concern, and in fact many agaricus species won't fruit at all from sterilized substrates. Casing layers are not pasteurized in commercial mushroom production in order for the casing to have a high microbe count. NEVER keep a terrarium or other grow tub sitting on the floor. Get a table or shelf to put it on. Over 90% of the contaminants in a room are within a foot (1/3 meter) of the floor. You can tell when your casing needs a mist by looking carefully at the cakes or casing layer. Allow them to dry slightly, then mist lightly. After a few grows, you'll be able to instantly tell when a project needs to be misted. You don't want them to dry completely out, or get waterlogged. Rhizos on top are a good sign. Let them grow. Knots form later. We using 'Perlite' in our casings because perlite works not by holding water, but by preventing clumping and providing lots of air pockets in the layer itself, which stimulates primordia. By mixing perlite with vermiculite, you get the best of both worlds... moisture retention in the vermiculite, and air retention in the perlite. Ph balancing isn't necessary unless you add peat, which isn't absolutely required for cubes. Just don't try to grow agaricus or other edibles without peat in the mix, because they won't pin. If you're going to case substrates, you want the humidity no more than 90%, with 80% being ideal. Too high a humidity is a major cause of weak or no pinsets on cased substrates.

CASING - You don't need alcohol, peroxide, heat treatment, bleach or anything else on the perlite. Just rinse, and then drain well. Leave no standing water. There is nothing sterile about a fruiting chamber. FC
Having a slightly acidic casing layer PH will not cause side pinning. Sure, you can mist with a bit of baking soda or hydrated lime in the water if you failed to balance the casing layer PH first, but as I said, that isn't the problem. An acidic casing layer will favor trichoderma and other molds, while mushroom mycelium is more tolerant of basic PH. This is the reason we use lime. As the mycelium colonizes the substrate, the metabolic byproducts produced begin to swing the PH lower. By the time pinning starts, you have a near neutral substrate, which is what you want.
Casing layers pin on the sides for several reasons, but most important to remember, they pin there when that's the best environment for them to form primordia. The crease between substrate and tray is a perfect microclimate. It's nice and humid down there and there is plenty of moisture for the substrate to work with. It's also protected from the spray from the mister, which will damage developing primordia if they get sprayed and are allowed to remain wet. When the mycelium is actively reaching/colonizing the top of the casing layer, back off on misting. A sheet of wax paper can be layed on top to hold in the microclimate you're looking for. It helps to wrinkle it up into a ball, and then spread it out again before laying on top of the casing. These wrinkles will ensure there is plenty of air circulating under the wax paper, while at the same time holding a high humidity level in your mini-environment under the wax paper.
It's normal for the substrate to shrink. It's more than loss of water because the mycelium is actually eating the substrate; therefore it naturally gets smaller over time.
At this point, I do not recommend liming the casing layer. You're trying to make it pin, not suppress trichoderma or other molds. If it only pins on the sides, you can be assured they'll grow into monsters. I doubt your total yield will be very much less, although it doesn't look as cool as a wild flush that hides the entire casing layer beneath a forest of mushrooms.

CASING - Exactly. Peat based casing layers should be pasteurized, not sterilized. It does no good to say something doesn't perform well if you don't follow proper procedure in making it. As I've said many times, the commercial growers have invested millions of dollars into research on ways to maximize crops. We can learn a great deal from them, and then expand on that knowledge. Edible and medicinal mushrooms with few exceptions are exponentially harder to grow then cubensis, so learn from those who are already at the next level. Growing cubes can be looked at as a way to learn mycology and then move on, or it can be looked at as a way to get some cheap drugs. Those who follow the latter are here today, freaked out by a trip and gone tomorrow. That's why there is such a huge turnover on this and other boards. Look at growing cubes as a way to 'learn the ropes' and then move to harder and more rewarding species. When you do that, the small things such as casing layer composition become much more important to get just right. Many species won't even fruit at all on a sterilized casing layer. Cubes will fruit, but poorly compared to how they fruit on a properly balanced, pasteurized casing layer, applied over a properly balanced, pasteurized bulk substrate.

FUNGICIDES FOR GRAINS/CASINGS - I found no problems when using banrot, and the fruits came out normal. It seems I used 1 tablespoon of Banrot 40WP per five gallons of soak water, but that could probably be reduced. Banrot will prevent fungi spores from germinating, but doesn't affect mycelium. It also seems to prevent bacteria. I once left a freshly sterilized jar of rye berries exposed to the open air for half an hour or so, then closed it up and a month later, it was still contaminant free. However, good sterile procedure renders it unnecessary for grains, and while soaking casing material in it will prevent trich and cobweb, proper pasteurization and good air exchange will also prevent mold on casing layers. I prefer growing without chemicals and am generally an organic gardener. The Banrot experiments were simply experiments. Dried and crushed Rhododendron leaves will also help prevent trichoderma and cobweb in casing layers.

PEAT MOSS CASING - You seriously need to read and study and not start a thread for every single question that pops into your head. The members can help answer what you don't understand AFTER study, but this isn't a place to learn everything. Commercial growers use buffered peat and NO vermiculite as casing. Their income depends on growing as many mushrooms as they can for the money they spend to grow them. Do you really think a multi-billion dollar industry is just throwing money away? Read, search and study. ALL the questions you're starting these threads lately for are already answered in detail, and available by a simple search, which is faster than typing a question. Those who know these answers are sick and tired of typing the same stuff hundreds of times, over and over again, and aren't going to do it anymore. Those who don't know the answer will make something up just to take a wild guess, and the disinformation continues...

BULK SUBSTRATES CASING - Thicker substrates cause a lot of problems. Layering will give faster colonization with less damage to your spawn than mixing. You'll have more success with thinner substrate layers. Don't even attempt a six or seven inch thick horse manure substrate. They will heat up, and also have the tendency to go anaerobic in the core, leading to contamination. You'll get far more bang for the buck with two trays of 3 inch substrate layers than one tray with 6 inches. Horse manure fruits very well uncased. A properly made peat/vermiculite casing layer will increase yields, but is by no means necessary.

UNCASED/CASED FC - With uncased substrate, wait for full colonization, and then place in the fruiting chamber. Try to keep humidity at 99%, since uncased substrates should be treated as cakes. Remember, when using a casing layer, we keep the humidity a bit lower to allow some evaporation from the casing, which is replaced by daily mistings. A piece of wax paper layed loosely over the uncased substrate will help produce a micro-climate conducive to fruiting, but remember that even though it helps, wax paper is no substitute for a genuine casing layer.

CASINGS - Primordia form in 99% humidity, and rarely in less. A casing layer can help to keep humidity at the surface of the substrate at 99%, even though the air in the fruiting chamber might be lower, therefore they allow for more sloppy technique. However, with less than upper 90's percent humidity, the casing layer dries out fast at the recommended level of air exchanges, defeating the purpose unless you mist heavily a few times daily. That's why I recommend 99% humidity for all growing, regardless of whether one cases his substrate or not.

LYSOL MUTATIONS - I want to scream every time I hear that. It's wrong. Lysol doesn't cause mutations. I can only catch it so many times, and this Lysol/mutant myth is spreading like a damn virus. Your new homework assignment is to spray Lysol near (not on) one of your fruiting cakes and report the results. Lysol is mostly alcohol and isn't good for mushrooms, but using it in the room isn't going to cause mutations. I spray the face of my flow hood with Lysol prior to transfers, so it's always blowing on something.

CASING - Mycelium needs light for much more than for the mushrooms to 'know which way is up'. Upon full colonization and a reduction in CO2 levels brought about by increased FAE, light becomes an important pinning trigger, and must be bright enough to penetrate the casing layer so that hyphal knots can form from deep within the casing instead of just on top. Dim light will produce 'some' pins, but if you want one of those wall-to-wall flushes, use bright light. I hope this helps clear up any confusion.

CASING - Agaricus farmers use peat without the vermiculite, while people growing cubes tend to mix peat and vermiculite. There's a reason for this. Agaricus fruits at ten to twenty degrees cooler than cubensis in very low light. There is far less evaporation of moisture from the casing layer at lower temperatures, thus the reservoir effect of vermiculite is not as necessary. For a given volume, vermiculite holds more moisture than peat, thus combining the two results in a compromise that favors fruiting in warmer conditions.

CASING/CAKES - You pick the fruits that are ready to pick and leave the pins. The easiest way to re-hydrate a bulk substrate that is dry is to pour water around the edges of the tray so that the substrate floats a bit. Leave it overnight and pour off the excess water. Mist the casing layer well. Never pick the pins because it's common with many species to set pins for the first few flushes at the time of first flush. These pins remain dormant until their turn comes. If you pick them, you ruin future harvests.

CASING PERLITE - Perlite works not by holding water, but by preventing clumping and providing lots of air pockets in the layer itself, which stimulates primordia. By mixing perlite with vermiculite, you get the best of both worlds ...moisture retention in the vermiculite, and air retention in the perlite. Ph balancing isn't necessary unless you add peat, which isn't absolutely required for cubes. Just don't try to grow agaricus or other edibles without peat in the mix, because they won't pin.

CASING LAYER - A casing layer allows us to be a bit sloppier on conditions. For example, if you have to leave for work every day for 10 hours or more, a casing layer will protect your substrate while you can't be there to mist. If you can hang around and babysit your crop, it makes little to no difference. Note this applies to cubes only. Other species fruit poorly or not at all without a casing layer, and many edibles won't even fruit on a pasteurized casing, it must be untreated.

SPORE DEPOSITS ON CASING - Heavy spore deposits do tend to hinder future flushes to some extent, but not to the point they describe. You don't need to leave them attached to the casing until you have a black mess everywhere in order to make prints. Pick them as the caps flatten out, but before they go crazy dropping spores. I have several totally sporeless strains. They're the way to go. Culture slants last for years in the refrigerator, making prints unnecessary.

LAYERING VS MIXING CASING - It seems to make sense that mixing would give faster colonization, but my experience is the opposite. By layering, the mycelium on the grains recovers and knits together, and then rapidly takes off and colonizes the rest of the substrate. In addition, since mixing 'can' damage the kernels, and a broken kernel is a prime site for contaminant spores to germinate, layering has the added benefit of less trauma to the spawn medium.

CASING - Bacteria in a bulk substrate is not a contaminant. Commercial mushroom farms toss out any fruits that have bacterial blotch growing on the fruits themselves. However, having bacteria present in the substrate is not a cause for concern, and in fact many agaricus species won't fruit at all from sterilized substrates. Casing layers are not pasteurized in commercial mushroom production in order for the casing to have a high microbe count.

CASING CONTAMINANT COBWEB - The most common contaminant during the fruiting stage is cobweb mold, but it's caused by lack of air circulation and exchange. The more you lift that lid and fan the better. There should be no dust. Wipe it off the top first, and of course, NEVER keep a terrarium or other grow tub sitting on the floor. Get a table or shelf to put it on. Over 90% of the contaminants in a room are within a foot (1/3 meter) of the floor.

MUTANTS - Mutants are pretty common. It wouldn't be from mixing B+ and TC. The mycelium only cares about A and B mating types, not the name somebody wrote on the syringe or print. You may end up with separate zones of each 'strain' or you may end up with a cross, or somewhere in between, but it won't be a hybrid since they're the same species anyway. Either way, it looks like not a half bad pinset you have started there...

CASING - A 'casing' is simply a non-nutritious top layer that is applied over a substrate in order to supply moisture and an environment that is conducive to primordia formation. It should not be used as a synonym for a tray, substrate, or total project. The purpose of a casing soil is to provide moisture and also to provide lots of little air pockets with high humidity to stimulate primordia formation.

FLUSHES BULK SUBSTRATES - True, but in that same time you could have replaced that with a fresh one and got started on another 80% of either 100 or 250, increasing your total yield considerably. It really doesn't matter with hobby grows anyway, but in the commercial field where yield per square foot makes the difference between profit and going out of business, it counts.

LAYERING CASING - I strongly recommend against leaving any grains on top of a substrate, exposed to air. If the grains dry out and the mushroom mycelium weakens, they become the perfect place for molds to start. Many growers get away with it, but the contamination rate will be higher over time. Grains should be covered with at least a very light layer of substrate, imo.

PERLITE CASING - Actually, perlite works very well in casing layers. It can't be used well in pf cakes, but in casing layers it helps to break up the peat and provide lots of O2 in casing layer, which stimulates pins. Of course, peat moss can be used without any vermiculite or perlite at all. Just lime to balance Ph, and use gypsum at ten percent by volume of the amount of peat.

CASINGS FC - A layer of vermiculite under the substrate is counterproductive. I recommend against it. Some beginning growers do it so that if they over mist, the vermiculite soaks it up. However, if you fail to overwater, the vermiculite draws moisture from your substrate. The vermiculite on bottom can also cause the mycelium to pin there instead of on the top where you want it to.

CASING - It's very common for the mycelium to try to colonize the sides of the tray above the substrate line, especially if condensation is present, which I'm sure it is with your heater. Your fruiting chamber should be kept at normal room temperature, not heated. If it's too cold in your house, run a small space heater in the room, not the terrarium itself.

OVERLAY CASING - Overlay is matted, nearly dead mycelium. Full colonization, even if 100%. Overlay is matted, overgrown mycelium that makes the casing layer impervious to water absorption. A bit of rhizomorphic mycelium on the surface is ok. It's what produces primordia. Patch if you want to, but if you have primordia showing, don't.

OVERLAY CASING - Overlay is the condition that results when mycelium has been allowed to completely cover the casing surface. It is caused by prolonged vegetative growth temperatures, high CO2 levels, and excessive humidity. If overwatered, the overlay will become matted, or, will form a dense, dead layer of cells on the casing surface.

CASING - I've been saying unpasteurized casing material works better for years, but it's heresy around the OMC where half the growers PC their casing material. Chances of Dactylium mold contamination are higher with an untreated casing layer, but if one can manage proper air exchange, results are superior, ESPECIALLY with cubensis.

CASING - Use gypsum at up to ten percent of the peat. Don't count the perlite and/or vermiculite. Test it with pH strips, and adjust with hydrated lime as necessary to get a starting pH of 8. When they say it has lime added, it means to make it right for plants, which generally like about 6.5 pH, which also happens to favor trichoderma.

CASING - You apply it to your fully colonized substrate and cover it up. You then place it on a shelf out of the way, at normal room temperature for a few days. When the mycelium pokes through a few days later, introduce to fruiting conditions. Read up on patching. It's optional, but does increase yield and pinset.

COLONIZING HIGH CO2 - One benefit of a high CO2 level during colonization is that less of the actual carbon in the substrate is converted to CO2 gas. In other words, if you allowed too much fresh air during colonization, more of the substrate would be 'consumed' by the time the mycelium got to the fruiting stage.

CASING - I would look for a mix without fertilizer if possible. It really won't hurt your fungus, but it could stimulate algae. The chemical plant food won't feed the mushroom mycelium or contaminant molds, but for my grows, I'd prefer to keep it away. I don't even use that stuff on plants.

CASING/JARS - Bear in mind, a substrate on the dry side will colonize faster than an overly wet one, so if your jars didn't colonize, something else might be wrong. It's also a good idea in a dry climate to run a humidifier in the room your grow is located to raise the ambient humidity.

VERMICULITE CASING - Actually, vermiculite can provide moisture to support a flush, but it doesn't fit the definition of 'casing', a term which is tossed around and abused fairly loosely. Furthermore, cobweb mold LOVES plain vermiculite, which lacks the beneficial organisms to fight it off.

COLONIZING MANURE - Leave the substrate loose and airy. I like to add a touch of vermiculite to manure for that purpose as well. A slightly dry substrate will actually colonize faster, so I don't think that's the problem. I make mine dry on purpose, and then dunk before first flush.

COLONIZATION SPEED - Nobody can answer that. There are too many factors besides strain that go into pinning. Also, there's no 'strains' that just colonize slower. Colonization speed is related to substrate moisture level, preparation, gas exchange, amount of inoculants, etc.

CASING - What you want is a short term (Hydrated Lime) because the life of a casing is measured in weeks instead of months or years. Use hydrated lime to get the ph right at the start, and use gypsum at a rate of ten percent to the peat in your casing to prevent ph swings later.

CASING - You don't finely grind up casing layer ingredients. The courser it is the better. It's important for air to be able to penetrate the entire casing layer. A few small pieces of debris in the peat doesn't hurt a thing. I never remove them. That's the reason we pasteurize.

CASING - You want upper ninety to near 100% humidity with lots of air exchange. Misting is required. Even at 99% humidity, the proper amount of air exchange will dry your casing layer (which is a pinning trigger), thus you need to mist to replenish the moisture.

COLONIZING - In addition, colonizing mycelium as agar pointed out, generates its own heat. The process is called thermogenesis. I've seen up to a fifteen degree F increase in substrate temperature over ambient air temperature with manure-based substrates.

CASING - It sounds like the substrate and/or casing layer might be too wet. After awhile, you can get a feel for when a bulk sub needs water by picking it up and judging the weight. You can actually develop a very accurate feel for moisture content this way.

CASING - It looks fine to me. The substrate is supposed to shrink. It's being eaten. It will pin in a few more days, and it's ok to keep the humidity up. You don't need to reduce it until after the pins turn into small mushrooms. Until then, 99% won't hurt a thing.

SLOW COLONIZATION - The biggest causes of slow mycelium growth are a too wet substrate, and not enough gas exchange. Make sure the holes on your jars are open. If your substrate is too wet, there's not much you can do except fix it on the next batch.

WHY CO2 LOW AND HIGH FC AND COLONIZING - If the CO2 levels are too low during colonization, the mycelium will consume more of the substrate. By keeping the CO2 levels high during colonization, we save the mass of our substrate to support the flush.

CASING VERMICULITE - Contaminants will easily germinate on damp vermiculite, and then spread their mycelium to your substrate below. The vermiculite barrier works in pf jars because it's dry. In addition, nothing 'wicks' contaminants, vermiculite or no vermiculite.

CASING - A 'casing' is a non-nutritious top layer that is applied over the fully colonized horse manure in order to supply moisture to the substrate below and to provide an environment suitable for pinning. A casing layer is optional with cubes.

MIXING - Often, they'll combine into one strain, but you'll never know, because there's very little difference between the various strains anyway, PE and the albinos excepted. It would be a 'cross' not a hybrid, which is an interspecies mating.

SUBSTRATE DEPTH FC - Two feet of substrate would go anaerobic in the core due to no air getting in, and rot. 8" seems to be about the maximum you can go with consistent success, but it better be loose and airy if you're going that deep.

FC. CASING FC - Incubate until you see mycelium coming up through about 20 to 30 percent of the casing layer. Sprinkle fresh casing material over that mycelium which is showing (That's what we call patching) and place in the

CLUSTERS - Clusters vs. single fruits are strain related. Often when multispore inoculation was used, you'll see one on first flush, and the other(s) on second and later flushes. The reason is that different strains are flushing.

CASINGS - Mycelium on the caps is not an indication of too much humidity. It's a combination of two types of mycelium on the fruiting body. It's more genetic in nature, occurring in some substrains more than others.

CASING/CAKES - However, it's normal for the substrate to shrink. It's not just from drying, but from the mycelium actually eating the substrate, so it naturally gets smaller over time even if you dunk it.

CASING WHAT IT'S USED FOR - The CASING is the non-nutritious top layer that is placed over a substrate to help induce pinning and to supply moisture to the substrate and the developing fruits.

CASINGS - They do shrink, but not typically on first flush. If this is first, they could be dry. Pour some water around the edges, then after a few hours, dump out any water that hasn't been absorbed.

CASING - However, it's normal for the substrate to shrink. It's not just from drying, but from the mycelium actually eating the substrate, so it naturally gets smaller over time even if you dunk it.

LATE CASING - Never add a casing layer after pinning starts. It leads to contamination under the casing layer, and also causes the pins that have formed to abort in many cases.

BETTER LAYERING BULK - If you spawn in layers, the spawn layer recovers very fast which then makes it resistant to contaminants as it colonizes the layers of manure.

CASING/SPAWNING - Contamination prior to first flush indicates your spawn was contaminated. Mold mycelium is white, thus you didn't notice it until sporulation.

CASING - It works great. It's just a bit spendier than buying a block of peat and a big bag of vermiculite. Sunshine mix #3 also works well. Don't forget to pasteurize.

CASING - Flush - It can either pin at will or once you see that the flushes are giving off continual harvests and the mushrooms look more haggard, it's done.

CASING RATIO - You can leave it uncased. I wouldn't go 1:4 with that. Stick to 1:2 or 1:3. Horse manure does fine at 1:4 and straw can be done at 1:10.

FREEZING CASING - No. Freezing will squeeze the moisture content out. Pasteurize tonight, then use tomorrow without freezing or nuking.

SPORES/CASING - Spores won't germinate on a fully colonized substrate. Harvest just before spore drop for best quality fruits though.

CASING - If it's waterlogged, the fruits will be small and rotten. If it's too dry, the fruits will be dry, cracked, and hard, plus small.

CASING - Vermiculite by itself is the poorest choice of a casing material. It's barely better than no casing at all.

CASING - If you wait until the mycelium is all over the top of the casing, then what is the use of the casing?

COBWEB ATTACK - 3% peroxide straight from the bottle in your mister will melt cobweb mold on contact.

CASING - Add 10% coir to your casing mix. That is somewhat like CAC'ing that some edible growers do.

CASING - Most often, if a cased substrate smells of alcohol. Some fermentation has, or is taking place.

CASING - Casing layer moisture content is critical; so don't leave it to a machine to figure out.

SUBSTRATE CASING - Substrate = Layer in which mushroom MYC feeds from.

CASING - Rhizos on top are a good sign. Let them grow. Knots form later.

WHY OVERLAY CASING - A dry casing layer causes overlay.

CASING - Casing layer = Layer on top, holds moisture.

PF TEK FC - Fine vermiculite holds more moisture per volume of measurement than course vermiculite; due to they're being more of it. The basic formula of 2-1-1 works great with fine or medium vermiculite, but if you're using course vermiculite, you might want to cut down a bit on the water. I've found that cakes as well as grains, and even bulk substrates colonize a bit better and faster if made up on the dry side. With cakes, it's easy to adjust the water down, and then simply do a dunk and roll at birthing to put the moisture in for the flush at that time. If the first batch comes out a bit too wet, simply reduce moisture by 10% to 20% on the next batch until you find the sweet spot. I'd still recommend the occasional fanning. You simply can't have too much air exchange, and the turbulence from fanning helps prevent trich from getting a foothold on your projects. Good luck!

PF CAKES - It's up to you if you want to roll in vermiculite after the second flush. If there's still vermiculite stuck to the cake, then it can do its job of absorbing water and supplying it slowly to the mycelium over time. If the mycelium has fully colonized the first batch of vermiculite you rolled in, then go ahead and roll after the second dunk. The idea is to have some uncolonized vermiculite on the sides and top of the cake to absorb water and act as a reservoir for the mycelium. 24 to 36 hours if fine for dunking depending on how much moisture the cake needs to absorb. If they're really lightweight, meaning they've dried out, then dunk longer. If they feel heavy, then they don't need to dunk as long. You don't have to worry about drowning them. They could survive weeks under water if they're in the refrigerator.

HYDRATING A CAKE - There's lots of ways to hydrate a cake. Dunk and roll is my favorite method. You're actually hydrating the individual mycelium cells, so it's a good idea to push the cakes a few inches under water so there's a bit of water pressure on them. Remove after 24 to 36 hours and roll in dry vermiculite, which is then heavily misted after being placed into the FC. Another method is to pile up vermiculite as deep as you can on top of the cake and keep that saturated. Another is to set the cake in a saucer of water. The straw method also works. These last methods are fine during a flush. Between flushes or prior to the first, I'd still suggest a dunk and roll. Mushroom farmers have been soaking substrates in water to rehydrate them for at least a thousand years. It's the time-proven method.

REHYDRATING A CAKE - You can also simply use your finger or a sharpie and make a small hole in the cake when you originally mix it and fill that with vermiculite. Then, simply pour water into the reservoir when the cake starts to dry out. Either way, don't keep the cake wet all the time or it will waterlog. Hydrate it, and then allow it to dry out a bit before wetting it again. If you dunk and roll prior to first flush, and then dunk between flushes, the straw tek isn't necessary.

SOAKING CAKES - I've seen pf type cakes survive two-week dunks in the refrigerator. I've also seen master slants under water survive two or three years in the refrigerator. You shouldn't dunk in the jars. It takes pressure to hydrate the mycelium. Dunking isn't hydrating the substrate, which is fully colonized. Dunking is to hydrate the individual mycelium cells, which takes time and a higher pressure outside the cell wall than inside (osmosis) for hydration to occur. Dunk in a large kettle or bucket, etc., so the cake can be pushed completely under water, thus providing the pressure required. Soak the cakes in this manner for 24 hours.

CASING/CAKES - Allowing a substrate to consolidate its hold on the substrate before introducing to fruiting conditions is good practice. By digesting more food before fruiting, better quality fruits are produced. Other than that, there are no known ways to readily increase potency in substrates. There's lots of talk about tryptamines, etc., but the claims of increased potency can't be independently repeated. I believe from my many experiments with hundreds of substrates and additives that potency is genetic. If your mycelium has enough food to produce mushrooms, it has enough food to produce the active ingredients as well.

PF CAKE FC - Place the cakes in the terrarium so that what was the top of the jar is now the bottom. The reason is the bottom of the jar is concave, thus it leaves an indentation on the bottom of the cake. This makes a nice 'bowl' to hold moisture later when it becomes the top and is filled with vermiculite. You can actually pour water directly on top of the cake, saturating the vermiculite in this 'bowl' and it will slowly hydrate the cake, supplying moisture for the flush. It's OK if mushrooms grow from the bottom of the cake. Just let them grow. They pick their own favorite place to pin, so don't mess with them.

PF CAKES - Stamets also explains the idea of consolidation in his books. It's not necessary with grains if you're going to be spawning to bulk or using for grain-to-grain transfers, but you do need to wait for full colonization. However, with pf cakes and other bulk substrates, it helps to wait some time after full colonization before initiating fruiting conditions. Doing so results in more prolific flushes. Failure to do so with some of the harder to grow edibles such as P. nameko and Shiitake sometimes results in no flush at all.

CONSOLIDATION PF CAKES - It isn't really necessary to wait for primordia to birth, but the idea is to give about a week after full colonization for the mycelium to digest some of the food it has just colonized. We call this process 'consolidation' and it makes for a much better pinset. Consolidation allows the mycelium to perform this process while still in the jars so they don't dry out before the flush. Those who birth right at full colonization often ends up with dry cakes by the time they flush, which reduces yields.

CASING/CAKES - You pick the fruits that are ready to pick and leave the pins. The easiest way to re-hydrate a bulk substrate that is dry is to pour water around the edges of the tray so that the substrate floats a bit. Leave it overnight and pour off the excess water. Mist the casing layer well. Never pick the pins because it's common with many species to set pins for the first few flushes at the time of first flush. These pins remain dormant until their turn comes. If you pick them, you ruin future harvests.

FC PF - The reason for waiting a week after full colonization is to allow the mycelium to consolidate its hold on the substrate. Until the mycelium digests some of the substrate it has colonized, it will not fruit. If you birth the day of full colonization, the week spent consolidating the hold, will be a week spent drying out the cake, thus making pinning harder and yields weak. If you wait a week after full colonization, pins often form within 48 hours of birthing/dunk and roll.

CAKES - Don't use distilled water for cakes, for all the same reasons you shouldn't drink it. Google it if you don't know what I mean. They contaminate much easier. Tap water is fine. For crying out loud, we've had lots of threads where people have dunked cakes in ten percent bleach, so the very small amount in tap water isn't going to hurt anything. Use tap, river, lake, spring, etc., but not distilled. Save your distilled water for making agar.

CAKES - A cake can only support a few mushrooms at a time, due to the size of the cake (substrate). If you get an awesome pinset on a cake, expect 80% of them to abort. Pick off the aborts when you pick the flush, but don't pick any pins that aren't black. Often, pins for the first two or three flushes set at the same time as pins set for the first flush. Once you pick the first flush off and dunk, they'll take off and grow.

HUMIDITY CAKES - My terrariums have a dozen or more holes drilled into the bottom. The natural air currents, since air is drawn from cold to warm, cause air to enter the bottom of the terrarium, work up through the perlite while being humidified along the way, then into the terrarium and back out the holes above the substrate. This provides FAE without fanning, and 95% to 100% humidity.

PF CAKES FRUITING FROM BOTTOM - I'd leave them. They'll push out from the bottom. Often, water drains by gravity to the bottom of a cake. They pin there because that's the best environment, thus they took advantage. If you flip the cake, it might work or they might abort. If you do decide to flip the cake, place it in a saucer of water overnight and allow the cake to soak up some moisture.

PF CAKES - Any cake that hasn't pinned after two weeks should be dunked and rolled again. Keep them at 99% humidity and normal room temperature. Inoculate a few cakes with oysters and cook them up for the family in an omelet. Then you won't have to worry about kids. In my opinion, mom and dads bedroom should be off limits to kids anyway. At least, that's how I raised mine.

PF CAKES - I'd recommend removing the trays, and then raking your fingers through the perlite to fluff it back up. Set small blocks or pieces of pvc on the perlite to hold the trays elevated. You could also build a wire rack for the trays to sit on. However, keep up plenty of air exchange even with the holes, as normally the substrate trays evaporate enough to maintain pretty good humidity.

PF CAKES - I didn't notice that the first time. You should wait one full week after full colonization before birthing. This allows the mycelium to consolidate its hold on the mycelium. They will rarely pin during that first week anyway, so keeping them in the jars keeps them in the high CO2 environment, where they also lose less moisture to evaporation.

FC PF TEK - Most jars are concave on the bottom so there's a small well in the bottom of the cake. Put it into the fc where what was once at the bottom of the jar is now the top of the cake. This little divot can be filled up with vermiculite, and then you can pour water onto it every day to keep the cake fully hydrated. That's the key to good performance.

PF CAKES - We wait one week after full colonization to allow the mycelium to digest a bit more of the food it has colonized, thus allowing it to consolidate its hold on the substrate. It won't fruit before this week passes anyway, so it's best to leave in the jars. After a week, birth the jars, dunk and roll, and then place into fruiting conditions.

HUMIDITY - Condensation on the sides is in no way an indication of high humidity. In fact, it's an indication that you have low humidity because your humidity has been stolen from the air to be deposited on the surface of the terrarium. What it indicates is a temperature differential between inside and outside the terrarium. Nothing else.

PF CAKES - After rolling in dry vermiculite, I hope you misted several times over the next few hours to fully hydrate the vermiculite. Don't mist the sides of the terrarium, as it does no good. Aim the mist up into the air and let it fall directly on the cakes. In fact, after the dunk and roll, aim the mister right at the cakes and soak them well.

FLOODING CAKES FC - What WILL flood your cakes is pumping from a humidifier AFTER the air is already at 100%. That's why I recommend three to five inches of well-drained perlite for a terrarium, and no mechanical humidifier. This way, if your humidity reads less than 95%, it means you need to calibrate your hygrometer.

FC PF - There should be ZERO standing water in the perlite. Having standing water relegates that perlite that is underwater useless. Rinse the perlite; drain well, and then place into the terrarium. Three to five inches of well-drained perlite will deliver 95% humidity, provided you've drilled those small holes into all six sides.

CAKES FC PERLITE - You're not supposed to let them sit on the perlite. It causes them to wick up water from below, and also to attempt to grow into the perlite. Put down a jar lid or something to separate them from sitting right on the perlite so they won't become waterlogged. If they do, they won't fruit.

PF - You should NOT see condensation on the sides of the terrarium, especially with holes in the sides for air exchange. Condensation indicates one thing and one thing only: A temperature differential between inside and outside the FC. It does not indicate humidity in any way, shape, or form.

CAKES - This gives you a place to fill with vermiculite, which you can then pour water into in order to keep the cake hydrated during the flush. They'll fruit either way, but divot side up gives a nice moisture reservoir, to counter the small size of the cakes which often limits fruit size.

PF CAKES - If you used the dry vermiculite filter per the pf tek, you can loosen the lids with no problem. Don't move the jars around or turn them upside down or anything silly like that because it can cause the vermiculite filter to shift, allowing contaminants to reach the rice flour below.

PF CAKES - Moisture in a pf cake often drains to the bottom of the cake from gravity, thus pinning starts there. In addition, right against the perlite is the most humid microclimate, thus it encourages pinning. It's also the area that any perlite will stick to the cake simply by geography.

CAKES - Often, the mycelium will set way more pins than it can support. Since there's no way a pf cake can support 48 mature mushrooms, expect the majority to abort. Start really giving it a lot of water. You can put a pile of vermiculite on top of the cake and then keep it wet.

SOAKING CAKE - A member recently dunked his cakes for two weeks, thinking that putting them in water and then refrigerating was the best way to store them. Guess what? They survived and did just fine. I'd still recommend 24 to 36 hours max though.

CASING CAKES - Mushrooms depend on a LOSS of moisture from the substrate to fruit. If you saturate them, or keep a steady moisture level, they fruit poorly if at all. Mushrooms are not plants, which benefit from steady moisture levels.

CAKES/FC/HUMIDITY/PINNING - It should rise and fall. FAE will lower the humidity, and then you mist to replenish it. That's what you want. Evaporation of moisture from the casing layer or substrate is a major pinning trigger.

CAKES - Try to keep normal room temperature, and near 100% humidity. Mist as required keeping the vermiculite on the outside of the cake moist. Three or four light mistings per day are superior to one soaking.

CASING - Scratching seems to have benefits with button mushrooms, but in my experience, it does little to no good with cubensis. I tried it many times, and it seemed to set back progress every time.

PF CAKE - That slime is the reason I recommend to rinse the cakes well both before and after the dunk. Rinsing before the dunk helps prevent it, and rinsing after the dunk removes any that has formed.

CAKES DUNK AND ROLL - You're supposed to mist after the roll in dry vermiculite to get the vermiculite that stuck to the cake moist. Otherwise, the vermiculite will suck moisture from your cake. Yes, mist it now.

PF CAKES - Cakes often pin on the bottom because that's where the moisture runs to by gravity and also it's closer to the perlite, thus the humidity is higher and stimulates pinning.

CASINGS/CAKES - Since hyphal knots to primordia to pins takes at least two to three days, those pins formed because of what you were doing before you made the changes.

PF CAKES - I always add a tablespoon of gypsum to each multiple of the basic recipe of 2 cups vermiculite, 1 cup each of brf and water.

CAKES - People need to realize that a greenhouse isn't appropriate for pf style cakes because they require a very high humidity.

BRF CAKES - No water should squeeze out of BRF mix, no matter how hard you squeeze. Follow the recipe next time.

CAKES - After each flush, allow the cakes to sit for a few days to rest, and then dunk for 24 to 36 hours again.

CAKE FC - With lots of pins without the correct moisture the excessive pins can drain a cake in no time.

GYPSUM PF TEK - In fact, I add a tablespoon of gypsum to the basic 1,1,2 pf recipe.

CO2 - CO2 will build up in a terrarium, whether or not holes are drilled into all six sides. The levels will be lower than they would be without holes drilled and/or fanning regularly, but will still be above normal ambient. With oyster mushrooms and lion's mane to name two species that are very CO2 intolerant, you need to fan a few times per day, even when using my terrarium design. The point above is that even with 100 holes in the floor of the fruiting chamber/terrarium, CO2 levels will still be elevated. The holes help, but don't make for maintenance free fruiting. In other words, gravity won't 'drain' the CO2. I hope this clears up any lingering confusion. In addition, CO2 is not the only reason we provide air exchange. The other important reason is that contaminants prefer stale air, while mushroom mycelium prefers fresh, moving air.

CO2 - CO2 doesn't 'sink to the bottom' or 'pour out like water'. It mixes with the air and raises the CO2 content. CO2 can be measured in the upper reaches of the atmosphere. If it all settled to the bottom (ground) it would snuff out life on earth. Therefore, you can't drain CO2 out of your terrarium by holes on the bottom. Fans in a small terrarium will dry out the air. That's why your current cakes are blue. They're dry and stressing. You want natural circulation in your FC, near 100% humidity, and enough holes or fanning by hand to get the CO2 out.

CO2 - If CO2 was heavier enough than air that it settled to the bottom, we'd all be dead from CO2 poisoning on the surface of the planet. CO2 mixes with the air. To get rid of it, you exchange the air in the terrarium. You can't simply drill a hole in the bottom and expect it to run out like water. CO2 is found high in the atmosphere, not just at the surface. It's the same in your terrarium. In a completely airtight container, the CO2 would sink to the bottom. Such is not the case with our growing containers.

CO2 - CO2 won't run out of holes in the bottom. It's widely misunderstood that CO2 is heavier than air, and many growers think it will run out like water if only there's holes in the bottom. The fact is, the CO2 mixes with the air inside the tub and raises its CO2 content. You have to exchange ALL the air in the tub to get rid of it. I simply drill lots of holes in the fruiting chamber, and let nature take care of it.

COLONIZING CASING CO2 - The 5K to 10K ppm levels of CO2 are during colonization. The fungus naturally produces the CO2 just as humans also produce it. The 300 ppm levels are what is optimum for fruiting, and you'll have to ventilate to get it that low. We don't supplement with CO2, but rather have different strategies for getting rid of it, depending on the part of the cycle we're in.

CO2 CASING - You want holes all around to create circulation. It's a myth that CO2 settles to the bottom and needs to be 'drained' out. If that were the case, we'd all be dead from the CO2 from the power plants, car exhaust, etc. sinking to the surface of the earth, but the fact is, CO2 can be measured in the highest reaches of the upper atmosphere. It simply mixes in with the air and goes where the air goes.

CASING CO2 - High CO2 levels are beneficial during colonization. It prevents most of your substrate from being turned into CO2. Without proper covering, up to 50% or more of the carbon in your substrate will be released as CO2 gas by the mycelium. In addition, many competitor fungi can't thrive in the high CO2 environment, thus it helps favor for mushroom mycelium.

CO2 FRUITING - High CO2 levels are another thing that causes pins to abort. Mycelium can form primordia in conditions that can't sustain a flush, so lots of air exchange is very important throughout the fruiting process.

CO2 FC - 'Drainage' holes drain the CO2, and you want the CO2 high in the substrate and low on top of the casing layer because that stimulates pinning where you want it to happen.

CO2 - Drill holes as described. CO2 isn't enough heavier that it will 'drain' out holes in the bottom. You want lots of holes so there can be constant fresh air.

HIGH CO2 - High CO2 will give long stems, but not huge caps. However, if you don't give any air exchanges, you'll grow nothing but green molds.

MUSHROOMS CO2 - Tall, skinny mushrooms are indeed a sign of insufficient air exchange. Lack of light will also cause that.

HIGH CO2 - Long, spindly stems are a sign of too high a CO2 level, and green molds are a sign of insufficient air exchange.

HIGH CO2 - Increase air exchange. High CO2 levels cause stem elongation and small caps.

HOLES IN FC AND WHY - The holes in the bottom increase humidity. How? It's a development from something I learned working on the Alaska Pipeline project in the 1970's, helping to engineer the supports that are actually self contained refrigeration units that keep the tundra frozen even in summer so they don't shift, thus preventing the pipeline from rupturing. The supports require no electricity to operate.
The methodology is this: Air currents travel from high pressure to low. Heat expands the air, thus causing low pressure. Cold compresses the air, thus causing high pressure. The damp perlite is cold, so the air surrounding the perlite is our 'high' pressure. The substrates within a terrarium produce heat, as does the lights shining through the sides or top, thus the air in upper terrarium becomes 'low' pressure. This causes air to want to flow through the perlite and into the terrarium, but only if there is an entry point at the bottom for the air to be drawn in. The air, by natural convection passes through the perlite, absorbing moisture as it does. It then enters the terrarium, and is expelled through the holes above. This natural circulation provides FAE without fanning, while keeping the humidity higher than it would otherwise be.
I developed this over the last year, but am just now releasing it after a full year of testing; so don't look for anyone else beside myself to have used this system yet. It works. Oyster mushrooms still should be fanned a time or two per day, but every other species has done very well with this system with no fanning, and humidity maintains between 95% and 98% provided four to five inches of damp perlite are used. Smaller depths may work with smaller terrariums, but with the 106-liter terrarium I've posted pictures of, four to five inches is best.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AIR EXCHANGE AND GAS EXCHANGE - Gas exchange is when the gasses must percolate up through a vermiculite barrier or other filter to three or four small holes in the lid. The small filter on spawn bags allows for gas exchange. The very limited exchange that takes place allows the excess CO2 to get out of the jars and be replaced by very small amounts of filtered room air. Air exchange is when we remove the lid on a fruiting chamber or run a fan in a greenhouse to forcefully fan the contents in order to blow out the stale air and replace it with large amounts of unfiltered room air.

FC/HUMIDITY/HOLES - I drill dozens of holes all over my terrariums, including the very bottom. The holes on the bottom actually increase humidity, while letting the CO2 drain. The reason the holes on bottom increase humidity is because air currents travel from cold to warm, due to the pressure difference caused by the molecules being farther apart in warm air. The warm air in the terrarium causes air to percolate up through the perlite, wicking moisture as it passes through.

AIR EXCHANGE FC - Sure looks like too much substrate and mycelium for such a small container. I'd imagine the gasses build up in no time in something that small. You need three to five air exchanges per HOUR, not two per day. That's why I recommend drilling holes into all six sides of the terrarium. If you mist, and then close that thing up with the fruits wet, it's just one more example of the proof that doing so causes aborts.

FAE CONTAMINATES - The fact of the matter is, green molds can't survive in a fresh, turbulent air environment. They require stale, still air. That makes green molds fairly easy to control. All the sterile procedure in the world won't help once your project is in fruiting conditions. At that point, give fresh air and keep it moving. Green molds will still pop up from time to time, but they won't be devastating.

FAE - I have a couple dozen holes drilled into the floor of the FC as well, so any excess water from misting can drain out. The holes in the floor of the Rubbermaid also help to let the CO2 seep out. Water doesn't evaporate well into CO2, so getting rid of it helps the perlite work better, as well as stimulate pinsets.

FFAE IS THE WAY TO GO - In nature there is no fanning, there is constant, full air exchange which is what starts the chain reaction to pinning, so the more air you're providing via open air exchange, the better, farms don't use fruiting chambers they use huge trays in open rooms, as that's how they grow best.

FILTERED AIR - Best way for filtered air exchange in a TIGHT clean room, or grow room is POSITIVE PRESSURE. Meaning, pump in hepa filtered air in a volume much larger than the outlet. Which creates mild positive pressure. Enough that nothing wisps in, except what you carry on you.

FAE. KEEPING COBWEB MOLD AT BAY - You should have just hit it with a mild H202 mist - spurt. Then, or NOW increase your FAE. For Cobweb. Give it another spurt of H202, and then about triple your FAE. Plenty of FAE is the trick to holding cobweb at bay. It thrives, when there is little or no

FILTERING AIR NO REASON TO FC - Actually, polyfill is a filter, but there's absolutely no reason to use it on a fruiting chamber. If you have gnat problems, you can use window screen, which will allow much more air to circulate, thus lowering the risk of contamination.

FAE/FC - Just remember with small holes, it takes four times as many holes to equal twice the area. In other words, two 1/4-inch holes are not the same as one 1/2-inch hole. It would take four of them. It helps to bear that in mind. Good luck.

FAE - Four air exchanges per HOUR are recommended. I'd suggest fanning three times per day, and drilling a hundred or more holes in your terrarium to get you by between fannings so you can leave for work, play, etc.

FAE - Stamets recommends 4 to 5 air exchanges per hour. I try to give a bit more than that because in addition to getting rid of the CO2, we're also trying to make an environment that is inhospitable for contaminants.

FAE - Correct. Nothing covers the holes. It's near my balcony where we keep the sliding glass door open all the time. The breeze from the open door helps with the FAE too, and the natural sunlight is a plus.

AIR EXCHANGE FC - We filter uncolonized grain spawn, but once it's fully colonized, there is no reason to filter. Air exchange is the key to contamination prevention in the fruiting environment.

FAE FC - Mushrooms like 3-6 COMPLETE FAE's an hour, which can't even hope to get near most of the time and if they do, it typically will cause a problem with over-Drying of the substrate.

FC AIR - There is no reason to worry about contaminants in your fresh air supply, because your cakes are already colonized. Stale air is much more of a threat than contaminated air.

CONTAMINANTS WITH FAE - All the FAE. The constantly circulating air outdoors gives contams little room to take hold of the patch. Unlimited FAE is the key factor.

FAE. FAE FC - You want about 4 air exchanges per hour if it's in fruiting mode, so watch your humidity as agar said and be sure to replace the moisture you lose to

MUSHROOMS WITHOUT FAE - Insufficient fresh air exchange leads to the long twisted stems, and poor lighting leads to very small caps.

PROBLEMS WITHOUT FFAE - The sign of high CO2 is baseball bat fruits with fat stems and little tiny caps or long skinny ones.

FC - Air exchange in the fruiting environment will do way more for contaminant control than filtering.

FAE FANS - Fans are unnecessary, and tend to dry out the air too much.

FC FILTERING AIR NO NEED - You don't filter air to fruiting chambers!!!

FFAE - FFAE = Frequent Fresh Air Exchange.

FC - It all depends on the size of the FC. If you can maintain upper 90's humidity, then the more holes the better. Air exchange is the key to contaminant avoidance and good pinsets. However, if you over do it on the holes, performance will suffer if you can't keep up with good humidity. If you're unable to maintain humidity with all your holes, begin taping them up until you can maintain 95%. That will be the sweet spot. Many people also don't realize that if you double the diameter of a hole, you increase its area by four times. That means a 1/4" hole is four times as large as a 1/8" hole, and a 1/2" hole is four times as large as a 1/4" hole. You can dry out your terrarium in a hurry if you have too much. With this system, it also helps to run a humidifier in the room your terrarium is located, if you live in a dry or air conditioned climate. If your ambient humidity is in the 50% range, your terrarium will do much better than if it's in the 10% range.

FC - The fruiting chamber I designed has holes in all six sides. This results in convection and circulation. It is NOT a still air environment! The mushroom substrates produce heat, and also the lighting that shines through the fruiting chamber produces heat. These two produce convection. Perhaps if you'd read posts before jumping into shit you know nothing of, you'd have seen that. Sorry, but this pisses me off. Don't attack my work because you don't understand the science behind it. Now, in a so-called 'shotgun' fruiting chamber with holes on all six sides, would you suppose the CO2 drains out the bottom? It doesn't. It mixes with the air. I see absolutely NO change in CO2 concentration from the top to the bottom of the fruiting chamber. CO2 levels are higher than ambient in the room, but lower than they would be in a 'still air' terrarium, as if anyone who has knowledge of the life cycle of fungi would ever make such a thing.

PERLITE FC - The perlite should stay fully hydrated and provide humidity for four to six weeks. This is plenty for a crop cycle. I simply take the perlite from the tub, place in strainer and run water through it again to re-hydrate it. You should be able to use the same perlite for years. When I filmed this part for my dvd, I bought a new bag of perlite so it would be nice and pretty white. My old perlite, which is still perfectly fine, is several years old and has been used for dozens of cycles, and is stained various colors from different substrates and spores getting spilled onto it over the years. If you have a bad trichoderma outbreak, It can't hurt to boil the perlite in a large kettle before re-use.

SPAWN BAGS FC - I seal after sterilization and inoculation. You'll have to make provisions to allow the pressure to escape from the bag as the PC cools down or the bag will burst. I use a tyvek sleeve placed the entire length of the flap from the substrate to the end of the bag. This allows the pressure to escape, but also filters any air that tries to seep back into the bags. Using this method, I've left them to sit on a countertop in open air for several days prior to inoculation. The tyvek prevents contaminants from entering. I use steel tie-wire to seal the bags. I don't even own an impulse sealer.

CONDENSATION/FAE/PINNING FC - Correct. The temperature differential causes the condensation, and the holes help to keep the temperature equalized, thus no condensation. If you've dunked and rolled your cakes, you still want to mist to keep the vermiculite damp. If you have cased substrates, you also want to mist. All those holes provide for constant FAE, which is a major pinning trigger, but the constant FAE also causes evaporation from your substrate (another pinning trigger), which needs to be replaced by misting.

TEMPERATURE PROBLEM FC - If you have a freezer, freeze water in several plastic containers. You can then rotate the jugs from your freezer to your FC and back as needed. No, I meant to put the ice inside the DT. Get imaginative. The jug can hang from a wire if the whole tub is covered with substrate. Don't put the ice on the outside or you'll stunt the mycelium in that location. You can open fruiting chambers whenever you want. The more the better in fact as long as you maintain humidity.

FC - Massive air exchange is what you want for a fruiting chamber. By the time fruiting comes, CO2 production has fallen off dramatically. You want large amounts of air exchange in order to prevent contaminants such as cobweb, which thrive in stale, still air. Have several vents both top and bottom in a FC, so you can get circulation as well as intake and exhaust. Positive pressure is not necessary. A FC by nature isn't sterile, nor does it need to be. Just keep the humidity up.

FRUITING CHAMBER - Perlite will remain hydrated for months, so you don't need to wet it every weekend. Your mushrooms won't abort because of going two days without misting, provided you've built a proper terrarium and have 3 to 5 inches of well-drained perlite inside. Something else is wrong. You can mist mushrooms. They thrive in the rain. What's your air exchange provisions?

CONDENSATION HUMIDITY FC - Condensation does not begin on all surfaces at about 95%. Condensation is a function of the temperature differential on either side of a surface. Condensation forms on the warm side. Condensation won't even form on your mushrooms at 100% humidity. If they get wet, it's because liquid water droplets were thrown on them, not humidity in the air.

PERLITE IN FC - Also, make sure your perlite isn't packed down tight. If it is, it can't work. Rake your fingers through it from top to bottom to fluff it up. You want your perlite very loose and airy so it can evaporate the moisture it holds into the air. The more surface area of perlite, the better it works. Make little mountains and valleys for best results.

FC - Drill as many as you can drill until the humidity begins to fall. Then, cover up the last hole you drilled. The more air exchange during fruiting, the better. Just keep your substrate thin, and also keep the casing layer thin. Pans don't like thick substrates. 1 1/2" deep works for the manure, and 1/4" is plenty for a casing layer.

FC/HUMIDITY/CONDENSATION - You need high humidity in a fruiting chamber, and heating one will cause excessive condensation. The humidity you want for the mushrooms will be wasted sticking to the sides as condensation if there's a temperature difference between the fruiting chamber and the room it's located in.

CONTAINER FC - Use black plastic glad ware baking dishes. I've seen aluminum containers with holes in the bottom before the first flush comes in. Even if the metals are not transferred to the fruits (which nobody has the equipment to test to know for sure), the holes in the bottom cause unwanted pinning down there.

FC - A humidifier inside the greenhouse works great, and mine last several times as long inside the greenhouse as outside. Have it on a timer so it runs no more than two minutes at a time. One minute on, six minutes off works great for me. Just leave lots of gaps in the plastic so you have continuous air exchange.

CONDENSATION FC - Condensation on the walls only indicates that the temperature of the walls is equal to or less than the dew-point of the terrarium, and is not an indication of humidity. In other words, condensation indicates a temperature differential and not moisture content.

PULLING AWAY FROM THE SIDES CASING/FC - With a good pinset, they'll need lots of water. Be sure to give it to them. As said, it's normal for the substrate to pull away from the sides. The mycelium is munching down its food, so the substrate naturally is going to get smaller.

FC - Elevate the terrarium off your table on blocks so the holes in the bottom are open. Built as directed, it will maintain humidity fine if your ambient humidity is 50% or more. If necessary, run a cool mist humidifier in the room your terrarium will be located in.

FC MOISTURE - Droplets on your pins will not cause aborts. It's recommended to mist mushrooms. Air exchange must be provided because stagnant water sitting on a mushroom in stagnant air for an extended period WILL cause aborts.

CONDENSATION FC - Condensation has nothing to do with humidity. Condensation is caused by a temperature differential between inside and outside your tub. Use plastic or a drip shield to prevent drops from falling on the fruits.

HEAT A FC - NEVER heat a terrarium. It causes condensation, which robs the humidity from the air within, and turns it into condensation on the sides. You're supposed to heat the room the terrarium is located in.

FC - Warmer air has the molecules farther apart, thus humidity is lower, even in a sealed chamber. A 20F rise in temperature doubles the capacity of the air to hold moisture, thus it cuts the humidity in half.

USING PERLITE FC - Be sure your perlite is well drained, and you'll have 98% humidity for three weeks or more, at which time you can remove, wash, drain and replace the perlite for the next cycle.

CONDENSATION FC - Condensation in a FC is actually stealing moisture from your air, lowering the humidity inside. Avoid it. As said above, the water droplets falling on your mushrooms is bad as well.

FC - It's normal for the substrate to pull away from the sides of the tray. It's not just from drying though. As the mycelium consumes the substrate, it actually gets smaller because it's being 'eaten'.

FRUITING CHAMBER - Depending on what you're growing, you need a bit more air exchange than that. I like to see three to four air exchanges per hour, with a co2 level around 1,000 or less.

CONDENSATION FC - Condensation is not caused by humidity. It's caused by a temperature differential between inside the box and outside. Don't use heat.

CONDENSATION FC - True, but condensation can only form if the humidity is 100% OR there is a temperature differential between inside and outside.

FC - You don't heat fruiting chambers. You heat the room they're in to avoid condensation. If you desire 80, you'll want to heat the room that warm.

COLONIZING PERLITE PF TEK / FC - Don't force the mycelium to colonize the perlite that has no food for it anyway. It will waste needless energy.

SUBSTRATE FC - They break in half all the time when I'm dunking. They do just fine. Try to avoid breaking them, but if they do, don't worry.

CONDENSATION FC - You don't heat fruiting chambers or they get condensation on the walls, which sucks moisture out of the air inside.

FC - Standing water lowers humidity. Drain fully, then put the perlite in your terrarium. That will deliver the highest possible humidity.

FC - FYI placing in the FC slows vegetative growth and covering your knots with casing would destroy your initial pinset.

SUCCESS FC - High humidity and massive amounts of air exchange is the key to success with mushroom growing.

HEATING FC - Don't heat the terrarium. You'll only make condensation that will suck the humidity out of the air.

FC - How to incubate Monotub...Drill a bunch of holes...put Micropore tape over holes for colonization.

FC - You really need to get your humidity as close to 100% as possible for hyphal knot formation.

FC - On the next grow; provide more air exchange for shorter, fatter stems and larger caps.

CONDENSATION FC - Condensation is caused by excessive temperature inside the jars.

FC - High humidity, plus high air exchange will give the best results.

CONDITIONS TO INDUCE FRUITING - The major pinning triggers are in order of importance, full colonization, a decrease in CO2 levels due to increased air exchange (not gas exchange which is minimal), a steady rate of evaporation from the substrate or casing layer, and lastly, light.
Hyphal knots form best in 100% humidity, but I didn't list that because it's not a pinning trigger, but rather an environmental condition that is necessary. That's why we use casing layers. The casing helps to provide the 100% humidity right at the surface of the substrate where the hyphal knots form.
I have seen no correlation with temperature drop whatsoever. In the summer, my growing chambers are 10 or more degrees warmer than the open shelves I incubate on due to the heating effects of the lights. Even with a temperature increase, I still get wall-to-wall pinsets, so I don't consider temp drop relevant at all to tropical species. Other growers disagree of course, but that's just my observation after many years.
Full colonization of the substrate is the number 1 pinning trigger. Full colonization can be when the mycelium reaches the physical border of the container they are in, or when they run up against a biological border, such as a contaminant species. Either way, they see they have colonized all of what is available to them, so they then enter the next phase, which is reproduction.
There must be evaporation of moisture from the substrate for pins to form. A waterlogged substrate will just sit there forever without pinning. Even in 99% humidity, as long as you provide fresh air, moisture will be evaporating away from the substrate, and this is necessary for pinning. We mist to replenish the lost moisture, and then allow it to dry slightly before misting again. This keeps the moisture content high, and keeps the humidity at the casing surface near 100%, but at the same time provides the evaporation of moisture that is a very important pinning trigger.
During colonization, we provide very small holes in the jars or tubs for gas exchange. We want a high CO2 environment during colonization, because this prevents the mycelium from consuming all of the substrate. The mycelium colonizes the substrate, but doesn't 'eat it all up' due to the high CO2 levels. During fruiting, we remove the covers to provide air exchange, which is at a much higher level then the minimal gas exchange provided during colonization. This increase in air exchange lowers the CO2 levels, and is a major pinning trigger. At this time, the mycelium begins to consume the substrate it has previously colonized, and we notice during fruiting that our substrates pull away from the sides of the container. This is not due to moisture loss, but rather due to the mycelium 'eating' the substrate and turning it into CO2, a waste product. It is easily proved that this shrinking isn't related to moisture loss, because even when we dunk a bulk substrate, it doesn't return to its pre-flush size.
Last, but not by any means least is exposure to light. Light does much more than just tell the mushrooms which way to grow. There are mechanisms in the light that stimulate the formation of hyphal knots as well, and light at the higher end of the spectrum (blue) definitely, absolutely stimulate more hyphal knots (which grow into primordia, which then morph into pins) than light at the lower end of the spectrum (red) This does not mean to get a 'mood light' with a blue lens, but rather to select lights such as metal halide, or much more economical is 'natural daylight' fluorescent that emit light at around 6,000 Kelvin to 7,500 Kelvin depending on the brand. Cool white fluorescent emit light at around 5,000 Kelvin and the 'red' incandescent emit light at around 3,000 Kelvin. The higher the light temperature in Kelvin, the more stimulatory it is to hyphal knot formation. I hope this helps.

PINSET INITIATION FACTORS - I rarely start new threads anymore, but the same questions and misunderstandings seem to keep popping up regarding what makes our fungi enter the pinning stage. The reply below is one I posted in another thread earlier, so I'll take the liberty of cutting and pasting it here for those who would otherwise miss it. Hopefully it will stimulate some more research and discussion on everyone's part and clear up a few things. Here it is:
In fact, light isn't even the major factor in which direction mushrooms grow. Wind or other air currents is the first. Light is the second, and then finally gravity is the third.
As for pinning, full colonization of the substrate is the most important pinning trigger. If there are contaminants present in a substrate, the mushroom mycelium generally stops growing when it contacts them. This represents full colonization because the mycelium has hit a natural barrier, and often pins begin to develop, whether light is present or not.
The second most important pinning trigger is an increase in air exchange, with the corresponding drop in CO2 levels that occurs simultaneously. When you uncover a tray to look at it, you allow the CO2 to escape and be replaced by fresh air. THIS is a pinning trigger, even if you do it in the dark.
Third, which goes along with second, is a steady rate of evaporation of moisture from the substrate or casing layer. In the artificial environment of a small tray, we must mist to keep the substrate or casing from drying out, but we also must allow that moisture to evaporate off between mistings.
Fourth, when the above three triggers are active, light becomes a pinning/growth initiation factor.
If one waits too long to apply the casing layer, or the other factors listed above are in effect prior to light OR the casing layer being applied, primordia will begin to form, which will then push up through to the surface, whether or not it has been fully or even partially colonized. By the same token, if light is applied and the other, more important factors have not been met, primordia will NOT form.
This is why experienced growers, such as commercial spawn producers who make their entire living incubating mushroom mycelium, make absolutely NO effort to incubate in the dark. It isn't necessary. People will have much more success in the hobby when they understand that.

PINNING STRATEGY - Here are the facts. It DOES matter if you sterilize your casing layer. It will perform poorly. It's a well-known fact that the beneficial organisms in a casing layer stimulate pinning. This was very well known in 1985 when Paul Stamets wrote 'The Mushroom Cultivator' and it's still known today. Casing layers should be pasteurized, not sterilized.
In addition, coir is a substrate material, not a casing material. If you wish to use it for casing, it should be mixed at the 60/40 ratio (60% vermiculite, 40% coir) in the tek, or better yet, 70/30. However, peat mixed 50/50 with vermiculite is a far superior casing. The reason peats works better is the beneficial microorganisms that are not present in as high a concentration in coir.
Furthermore, sterilizing a casing makes it MORE prone to contaminants, not less. A sterile substrate is a prime breeding ground for the first organism to land on it, or the fastest growing. Mold mycelium, being imperfect fungi grows and sporulates much faster than mushroom mycelium because they get to skip the fruiting body stage.
Field capacity for casing layers says when you pick up a handful of material no water should drip out. If you squeeze gently a few drops will fall, and if you squeeze hard, a small stream will fall. It sounds like your casing might be getting prepared too dry as well.
Fanning 4 to 5 times per day is not sufficient unless you have another method of providing fresh air exchange. It is recommended to have 4 air exchanges per hour, not day.
My suggestion is to use a peat/vermiculite casing with gypsum added (very important) at a rate of one part to each ten parts of peat, and limed to an initial pH of 7.5 to 8. Pasteurize, don't sterilize and increase air exchange. Good luck.

FRUITING CHAMBER - You want three things in a Fruiting Chamber. FAE to keep contaminants at bay and to get a nice pinset. Humidity to get a nice pinset. Moisture for yield and pinsets. Mushrooms ideally want 4-6 FFAE every hour so it's best to put 1/4th inch holes everywhere around the terrarium. As much as so humidity doesn't escape and the CO2 levels are low. Massive air exchange is what you want for a fruiting chamber. By the time fruiting comes, CO2 production has fallen off dramatically. You want large amounts of air exchange in order to prevent contaminants such as cobweb, which thrive in stale, still air. Have several vents both top and bottom in a FC, so you can get circulation as well as intake and exhaust. Positive pressure is not necessary. A FC by nature isn't sterile, nor does it need to be. Just keep the humidity up.

FRUITING - As for fruiting temperatures, the lower 70's seem to produce the best fruit quality. For years, I didn't AC my house in the summer because I live in a generally mild climate, and they still fruited fine into the 90's, which my grow area would often reach on summer afternoons. I found that temperatures which would fry the mycelium during colonization, would hardly be a factor during fruiting, but the fruits grew very fast, were not very meaty, and the 'other' quality we look for was often lacking. When I switched over to all edible and medicinal mushrooms, I installed a refrigeration unit on my mini-greenhouse, because mushrooms such as shiitake would refuse to fruit at all in those hot temperatures.

PINNING - I doubt it was the light. Light is horribly over rated as a pinning trigger. It was most likely the air exchange that was allowed through the landscape fabric.
If you want an awesome pinset, it's important to only allow gas exchange and not air exchange as the mycelium colonizes the substrate. There's a big difference. During colonization, you actually want CO2 levels to be extremely high, which prevents fruiting. Upon full colonization, you increase FAE (air exchange) and expose to light at the same time. This results in a sudden and massive pinset.

SPAWNING WITH PINS IN JARS - You can spawn a cake with pins right into manure/straw, or even use it for grain-to-grain transfers. It's a myth that pins will rot. I've proved that hundreds of times. Here's what happens when you put pins on a Petri dish. The two pictures below were taken five days apart. The same thing happens regardless of substrate. Just be sure they're small, growing pins and not large fruits. You should pick the mature fruits.

PINNING - Mycelium will pin best at or near saturation humidity and plenty of fresh air, whether the substrate is cased or not. A casing layer simply helps to hold humidity high right at the surface, under less than ideal ambient conditions. Of course, once pins form, the casing layer also helps to supply the substrate below with moisture, so you want to keep the humidity high to prevent the casing layer from drying out too much between mistings.

ABORTS - Grey or black heads indicate aborts. Pins that have simply stopped growing but have normal color are NOT aborts and should not be picked. It's common for many species including cubensis to set all the primordia for the first few flushes when primordia for first flush is set. They stop growing until their time comes, at which time they kick into gear again. If you pick them, you ruin future flushes.

PINNING EARLY CASING - What I meant above about pinning early in the presence of contaminants is when you see pinning in a jar prior to full colonization. It's because the mycelium ran up against the contaminant and said, "Oh heck, this stuff might kick my butt. I better reproduce by dropping some spores so I'll survive". That's why they pin. It's not because you had the light on when you checked the jars.

CRACKED/SPLIT CAPS - There is a difference between cracked caps and split caps. Cracked caps are caused by low humidity, which cracks the caps to give them a reptile type appearance. What you see above is split caps. It's part genetic and part just from very rapid growth where the cap simply rips apart. Split caps are not environment related.

PINNING - Many things. I've found the brightest light stimulates more pins. You need to look at pinning triggers like the instruments in a band. One instrument can be slightly off, and the band still plays the song. Often one instrument can be taken away and the music still sounds ok. However, if all are working together, it's awesome.

PINNING TRIGGERS - The pinning triggers are: Full colonization, 100% humidity, increased air exchange, and light. If all that happened within 24 hours of what you did, the primordia were already formed, so it was going to happen anyway. The rooster may crow at sunrise, but he isn't responsible for the sun coming up.

COLONIZING HIGH CO2 - One benefit of a high CO2 level during colonization is that less of the actual carbon in the substrate is converted to CO2 gas. In other words, if you allowed too much fresh air during colonization, more of the substrate would be 'consumed' by the time the mycelium got to the fruiting stage.

CRACKED CAPS - Cracked caps are from low humidity and also really don't hurt anything. In fact, many Shiitake growers deliberately lower humidity a day or two before harvest to crack the caps. They feel it leads to a better product and in Japan; cracked cap Shiitake brings a higher price.

SPLIT/CRACKED CAPS - Usually, spit caps are caused by rapid growth. Contrast that with cracked caps, which is a sign of too low a humidity. Either is usually harmless. Vertically can also cause caps and stems to split, but it's a fungal disease so the fruits would also look unhealthy.

PREMATURE PINNING - Too much air exchange during colonization leads to early pinning too. If the holes in your jar lid are too big, your grains or whatever is exposed to air exchange rather than just gas exchange, which would keep CO2 levels high and prevent pinning.

SMALL MUSHROOMS FC - Small mushrooms are caused by one or more of the following: Too small a substrate or too thin a casing layer, improper substrate or ph level for the species, or too little moisture in the substrate or casing layer. The latter is most often the cause.

SPLIT CAPS - There are two phenomena that are often called 'split caps'. One is from growing fast and is normal. The other is more correctly called 'cracked' caps and is related to low humidity. Either is usually fine to eat. Post a picture if you want a better diagnosis.

SMALL MUSHROOMS - The only reason they're small is that there is only so much water in the cake. More mushies mean smaller ones. One tip for next time ...you can inject a bit of water into the cake during the flush with a syringe. Don't overdo it, just 3 or 4 cc.

PINNING ON EDGES - Your substrate is pinning on the edges because that's the only place where there is near 100% humidity to stimulate primordia formation. You can get more pins in the middle by laying a sheet of wax paper over the top of the tray.

FRUITING LOW CO2 - A rapid and sudden decrease in the ambient CO2 levels is a pinning trigger in cultivation, so adding fresh air at the same time as full colonization and the other pinning triggers helps ensure a full, even flush.

UNCASED SUBSTRATES - Uncased substrates should be treated as cakes. Primordia form best in near 100% humidity. Yes, lay wax paper right over the substrate. Replace every second day with a fresh sheet. Lift it to fan for air exchange.

FRUITING SUBSTRATE - However, you can mix it in with horse or cow manure, or compost at 5% by volume. In other words, for each 20 cups of compost or manure, you can add one cup of chicken manure. Don't forget to lime for ph.

FC SIDE PINNING - Black plastic glad ware fruiting trays. I've never had one single side pin when using those until second flush when the substrate is pulling away from the sides a bit due to shrinkage, which is normal.

SMALL MUSHROOMS - Small mushrooms are caused by a shortage of water. After this flush, dunk. It's not strain related. All strains we see are of the same species and I've seen huge amazons.

FRUITING TEMPERATURE CASING - Mushrooms grow more quickly at higher temps, but there is no doubt that they are denser and more potent when fruited at a lower temperature.

ABORTS - Misting doesn't cause aborts. Leaving pins wet after misting with no air exchange causes aborts. When misting pins, be sure to increase air exchange afterwards.

FRUITING TEMPS - Cubes will actually fruit well in temps that would fry the mycelium in the colonizing stages. However, quality is better when they fruit at lower temps.

CASING FRUITING SIDES - If the fruits are only forming on the edges, it could be because the casing layer Ph is too far off, or it could mean the casing layer is too dry.

MYCELIUM ON CAPS - It's a combination of two types of mycelium on the fruiting body. It's more genetic in nature, occurring in some sustains more than others.

PINNING TRIGGERS CRITICAL - The other pinning triggers of full colonization, steady evaporation of moisture, and air exchange are much more critical than light.

FRUITING TEMPS AND WHY - Benefits from fruiting at 68-72F. 1. Better Fruit Quality, 2. Easier To Control Harvest Time, 3. Easier To Control Evaporation!

SMALL MUSHROOMS - Fruit size is mostly determined by substrate moisture level. Small fruits mean your substrate is too dry.

MYCELIUM FC - Pins are live, growing mycelium. Live, growing mycelium does not rot. Aborts rot. The above are not shiitake.

FRUITING - Better food quality and slower growth occurs in the high 60's low 70's, that's why it's the true preferred range.

PINNING TRIGGERS - It's air exchange, full colonization, or contaminant presence which is what makes them pin.

HYPHAE TRIGGER - Aerial hyphae, attracted to the fresh air/humidity, no digital can actually read that high.


PINNING - One of the biggest pinning triggers is the sudden reduction in CO2 buildup.

SKINNY MUSHROOMS - Poor air exchange causes long skinny stems, not fat Asses.

ABORTS FC - If the head is black, it has already aborted. Aborts don't recover.

LATE PINNING - Late pinning is caused by poor air exchange 90% of the time.

SPLIT CAPS - Split caps, not related to humidity or moisture content.

CRACKED CAPS - No. Lack of humidity causes cracked caps.

PIN - Hyphal knots are tiny. Perhaps 1mm in diameter.

HUMIDITY FC - Hang on a second. 100% humidity means the air is saturated. Having the air saturated in no way is going to flood your cakes. What WILL flood your cakes is pumping from a humidifier AFTER the air is already at 100%. That's why I recommend three to five inches of well-drained perlite for a terrarium, and no mechanical humidifier. This way, if your humidity reads less than 95%, it means you need to calibrate your hygrometer. Mycelium will pin best at or near saturation humidity and plenty of fresh air, whether the substrate is cased or not. A casing layer simply helps to hold humidity high right at the surface, under less than ideal ambient conditions. Of course, once pins form, the casing layer also helps to supply the substrate below with moisture, so you want to keep the humidity high to prevent the casing layer from drying out too much between mistings.

HUMIDITY - I recently cleaned out one of my terrariums after 8 weeks. The perlite was still damp, and at least half of this time, the lid was off. I think you're mistaken. You can judge moisture content of the perlite by lifting the tub. Dry perlite is almost weightless. My huge 3 cubic foot bag probably weighs a pound or less. The terrarium I lifted up weighed at least ten pounds. However, if your house is extremely dry, you'd be well advised to run a humidifier in the room your grow is located in. It will make it better for your plants, and it will be easier on your own skin and lungs as well. Shoot for an indoor humidity of 50% or better for comfort. It will also make it much easier to heat your house in winter because the humidity will hold heat much better than dry air.

WAX PAPER HUMIDITY - What I have said is not to wait a week before using wax paper or it could stimulate the germination of contaminant spores that have landed. If you use it from the start, those contaminant spores will have mostly landed on the surface of the wax paper, which is discarded every two to three days. After four or five days, you can simply wash the surface of your substrate very well under the water faucet to rinse off most of the contaminant spores that have landed. Wax paper simply helps to hold a high humidity at the pinning surface. It's even more effective with uncased substrates than with cased.

FC HUMIDITY - I'm now convinced the closer to 100% humidity we can get, provided we have proper air exchange, the better. This applies to cakes, substrate blocks and cased substrates. Perlite in a terrarium with a cased substrate tray allows us to leave the lid or door propped open to allow for constant air exchange, which promotes pinning and suppresses contaminant molds. Without the perlite, we need to keep the terrarium closed up tighter, which promotes contaminant molds. I think the 90% humidity suggestion when casing comes from stamets' books, but I respectfully disagree.

FC/HUMIDITY/HOLES - I drill dozens of holes all over my terrariums, including the very bottom. The holes on the bottom actually increase humidity, while letting the CO2 drain. The reason the holes on bottom increase humidity is because air currents travel from cold to warm, due to the pressure difference caused by the molecules being farther apart in warm air. The warm air in the terrarium causes air to percolate up through the perlite, wicking moisture as it passes through.

CASING HUMIDITY - Why would one want to avoid getting moisture on the mushrooms? Mushrooms are 90% water and benefit greatly from misting. The other benefit to misting is to replenish moisture in the casing layer or on the surface of the cake. You can't do that with humidity, even at 100%. It must be done by misting. Opening the lid of a fruiting chamber a few times per day is a great idea. A total influx of fresh air is always good for the pinning/fruiting mushrooms.

WAX PAPER HUMIDITY - Wax paper will work better if you'll wrinkle it up into a ball first, then flatten it back out and lay over your uncased (or cased) substrate. By wrinkling, you open up lots of little air passageways while still keeping the humidity tent. It also helps cut down on the surface area of the caps touching the wax paper as they push it out of the way. Be sure to lift it up a couple of times a day to let all the built up CO2 from around the substrate escape.

HUMIDITY - Mushrooms grow best in upper 90's to 100% humidity. It makes no difference if the substrate is cased or uncased. A cased substrate can still get some pinning at a lower humidity than cakes, but performance is always better when high humidity is maintained. The old adage of 85% for cased substrates, 100% for cakes is just plain wrong. None of the experienced, successful growers fruit casings at lower humidifies.

HUMIDITY FC - If you have three to five inches of well-drained perlite, with holes cut in all six sides of the terrarium, humidity will be in the upper 90% range. A 20F rise in temperature cuts the humidity in half until more moisture evaporates from the perlite. That is just a fact of physics. Warm air can hold more moisture, so if you heat it, more moisture is required to have the same relative humidity.

HUMIDITY - If your ambient room humidity is very low, I'd suggest running a coolmist humidifier to bring your room humidity up to fifty percent or so, and then you'll be fine in your terrarium. As said, get an analog hygrometer and properly calibrate it at the high end of the scale. I'd also get rid of the aquarium light and get a fluorescent in the range suggested above.

HUMIDITY CASING - Perlite is best of course. If you don't have it, paper or cloth towels work fine. I've used them in pinches for years. Wring them out of excess moisture, and make sure they're fluffed up in the terrarium. You can even paste them to the sides. They won't contaminate for weeks, so if you change them for fresh every few days, you'll be fine.

WAX PAPER HUMIDITY - Wax paper in a monotub type grow is generally of little benefit. If you're using tray culture in a mini greenhouse where humidity is often less than optimal, wax paper can help keep humidity in the correct range for pinning. In a tub, humidity is usually close to 100% anyway, negating the need for wax paper.

CASING/HUMIDITY - Hyphal knots and primordia form best in 100% humidity. They don't care one whit whether the substrate is cased or uncased. You should maintain humidity in the upper 90% range for best results when growing mushrooms. The oft-repeated advice that 'casings only require 80% humidity' is wrong.

HUMIDITY - Raise humidity to near one hundred percent during primordia formation. Once pins are set, humidity can be reduced a bit, but don't get out of the 90's. The 'old' advice of keeping humidity lower for cased substrates is incorrect. As hyphae said, keep humidity high, and air exchange high.

CASING HUMIDITY/FAE - Never. I fruit cased substrates in the high 90% range too. The key is air exchange. Even at 99% humidity, moisture will be evaporating from your casing layer, provided you have enough air exchange, giving you two of the three major pinning triggers.

HUMIDITY/FC - A fact of physics is that a 20F(11C) rise in temperature cuts humidity in half, and a 20F(11C) drop in temperature doubles humidity, providing the amount of moisture stays the same. You're better off fruiting at 22-24C than at 27C anyway. Fruit quality will be better.

HUMIDITY FC - Recent experiments (over the last 23 years) have shown100% humidity means the air is saturated. Having the air saturated in no way is going to flood your cakes.

HUMIDITY FC 92% - Humidity will be fine with a good casing layer. I prefer higher, but lower will also still work, only requiring more frequent misting.

HUMIDITY/CASING - It's hard to get total saturation humidity with lots of air exchange. At 99% humidity with five to six air exchanges per hour as recommended, a casing layer will dry out daily and this moisture needs to be replaced by misting.

CASED SUBSTRATES - If you're going to case substrates, you want the humidity no more than 90%, with 80% being ideal. Too high a humidity is a major cause of weak or no pinsets on cased substrates.

HUMIDITY % CASING/FC - The maximum amount of air exchange possible while still maintaining humidity is what you want in a growing chamber. Fully colonized substrates are very resistant to contaminants.

HUMIDITY FC PRIMORDIA - During primordia formation, the higher the better. Once pins have formed, humidity can be reduced, but don't go less than 80% or you'll see a lot of cracked caps.

HUMIDITY/FC - You'll never get a good pinset at humidity below 90%. 95% and above is recommended, even with a casing layer. It's easy to get 99% humidity with perlite in a terrarium.

HUMIDITY - Contrary to popular belief and constant repetition, fuzzy stems are not an indication of too high humidity.

FC HUMIDITY - One cool mist is plenty for your terrarium for both air exchange and humidity.

HUMIDITY FC - There is no such thing as too much humidity when growing mushrooms.

SOAKING - Simply put the tray under a gently running faucet for a few hours. Allow the water to fill the tray and run over and down the drain. The running water prevents contaminants during the soaking process. Place a jar, rock or something similar on top of the substrate if necessary to prevent floating. After the soak, fill in the divots caused by picking with fresh casing material. You don't need to apply a whole new layer because it won't colonize anyway. Never pick pins that aren't aborts. Primordia for the first two or three flushes commonly forms at the same time, and then remain dormant until their time comes. If you pick the substrate clean, you ruin the next flush. Just be sure to drain out any excess water before returning to the FC. Don't get anal about draining; just get what pours off easily. The rest will continue to be absorbed by the substrate over the next 24 hours or so. You can throttle down the faucet too. You don't need a lot of water overflowing, just a trickle.

SOAKING/CASING/UNCASED - Dunk first. Personally, I've seen little benefit to adding a casing layer over bulk substrates with cubensis. Very experienced growers can definitely get a boost with a well-managed casing, but for the majority of new growers, I feel you'd be better off getting your feet wet by fruiting uncased. Of course, straight rye or wbs requires a casing to perform well, but bulk substrates such as coir or manure do not. You can dunk the coir/coffee substrate, and then introduce directly to fruiting conditions. This way, you get your harvest a bit sooner, and don't have the other problems to deal with that casing causes. As you gain experience, add casing layers to future crops. You can lay a sheet of wax paper over the uncased substrate to hold a high humidity right at the substrate surface, which will stimulate pinning. Lift it up to fan several times per day, and replace with a fresh sheet every two to three days, or if/when it gets damp.

MISTING - Droplets on your pins will not cause aborts. It's recommended to mist mushrooms. Air exchange must be provided because stagnant water sitting on a mushroom in stagnant air for an extended period WILL cause aborts. Condensation does not begin on all surfaces at about 95%. My can of cold beer gets condensation in Arizona in the summer. I know it's not 95% there. Condensation forms on my windows in winter, even when humidity in the house is less than 50%. Condensation is a function of the temperature differential on either side of a surface. Condensation forms on the warm side. Condensation won't even form on your mushrooms at 100% humidity. If they get wet, it's because liquid water droplets were thrown on them, not humidity in the air. 92% humidity will be fine with a good casing layer. I prefer higher, but lower will also still work, only requiring more frequent misting.

COLD SHOCKING - You dunk in the refrigerator to prevent bacteria buildup that would otherwise contaminate your brf if you dunked at room temperature. Don't confuse that with cold shocking, although it does cold shock them...lol. As for cased bulk substrates, I ran several experiments a few years ago where half the trays were placed in the refrigerator for 24 hours, while the second half were left at room temperature. Both sets of trays went to the fruiting chamber at the same time. Every single tray that had been 'cold shocked' pinned two or more days later than trays that had not been cold shocked. That is not to say a temperature change can't be a pinning trigger. However, along with light, a fully colonized substrate, and an increase in air exchange, it is only one of the triggers. However, cold shock being beneficial or not, you need to dunk your cakes in the refrigerator.

CASING SOAKING - The casing layer will never re-colonize after first flush. Simply dunk to rehydrate the substrate and return to fruiting conditions. I used to recommend dunking in the refrigerator, because in part, that was the conventional wisdom. I no longer believe that's the best course of action, so dunk at normal room temperature, beginning the dunk with cold tap water, but no ice. Larger trays can be easily soaked by placing under the kitchen or bathtub faucet, allowing the tray to fill up and gently run over the edge for a few hours. Put something on top of the substrate if it tries to float. The running water will help to wash away contaminant spores that may have landed, while preventing excess bacterial blooms that may occur under still water.

REHYDRATING SPAWN BAGS - Your mistake was injecting into the middle instead of along the edges. It's best to squirt solution in the area between the bag and the grains. This lets you see right away after germination what you have. Five to seven days is about normal for first growth to be seen if you inject the edges. Since you injected the middle, double that at least. I'd suggest waiting two weeks, then kneading the bag between your fingers to mix it up. Doing so should reveal some mycelium from the center of the bag, and the kneading will spread it around the bag. Only do this once, ten days from now.

FANNING/MISTING FC - Fanning is when you take the lid of the tote and wave it back and forth over the terrarium to blow out the stale air and replace it with fresh. Fan for fifteen seconds or so each time. I'd suggest drilling a hundred or more 1/4" holes into all six sides of the terrarium, elevate it an inch or two off the shelf, and then fan a couple of times per day also. Mist each time you fan, just before fanning. There is no maintenance free terrariums, so keep it simple and give your mushrooms lots of humidity, lots of fresh air, and lots of bright fluorescent light.

SOAKING - No, just use tap water unless you live in an area with contaminated drinking water. It's best to refrigerate or otherwise keep the water cool during the soak period to prevent the growth of unwanted organisms in the anaerobic conditions underwater. Put the cakes in a pot of water, and then use a heavy glass dinner plate or something similar to hold them submerged, as they'll try to float. Rinse well under the faucet both before and after the soak period. It's a good idea to roll the cakes in dry vermiculite after the soak. Read up on 'dunk and roll'.

SMALL MUSHROOOM HYDRATING - Small fruit size is related to substrate moisture content. It's easy to hydrate a substrate block during fruiting by simply pouring water around the edges so it slides down and under the substrate. If you pour a few tablespoons of water around the edges a couple of times a day, the substrate will readily absorb it and transfer the moisture to your fruits. Cubes will benefit from a casing layer, but by no means is one necessary to get a nice flush of large fruits.

MISTING - You can mist pins, but they must be left open to fresh air after misting. If you mist small pins, and then put the lid on the fc, they'll usually abort. They also must be misted with a very fine mist sprayed up into the air, so that it settles down gently on the casing layer. A direct spray will abort pins. Never mist when they're in the primordia stage. Simply lay a sheet of wax paper over the top of the tray to hold humidity at that time. Pick off any moldy pins from the substrate.

REASON FOR COLD DUNKING CUBIES - Cold water is recommended for dunking for only one reason-it helps to keep bacteria from growing during the time the mycelium is underwater. Tap water is fine, unless your local water supply is polluted. Many people add 1/2 teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water to the dunk water. I recommend rinsing the cake under the faucet with running water after the dunk to remove any bacteria or slime that develops during the dunk.


Sours: http://en.psilosophy.info/all_of_rrs_notes_on_mushroom_cultivation.html

Bulk Substrate Tutorial

Previous Tutorial: Spawn Production
Once your inoculated grain spawnhas reached 100% mycelial colonization, it is now time to spawn it to a bulk substrate, like our pre-pasteurized mushroom compost. If you don't know how we got to this step, please read the previous tutorial.
Once the bag is completely colonized with mycelium (you should not be able to see any uncolonized grain), break the grain up with your hands through the outside of the bag. Make sure the grain gets broken up completely and thoroughly.
Cut off the bag containing 5 lbs. of pre-pasteurized mushroom compostdirectly below the filter with a clean pair of scissors.

The spawn ratio that we recommend is two pounds of colonized grain spawnper five pounds of pre-pasteurized mushroom compost. Cut off the bag of broken-up colonized grain (the bag that you previously broke up) directly below the filter-patch with a clean pair of scissors.

Dump the broken-up grain bag in to the 5 lb. bag of compost. Do the same thing to another 1 lb. bag of colonized grain, mixing a total of two pounds of grain to five pounds of substrate.
Mix the grain/compost mixture by massaging the outside of the bag. It is very important to make sure that the mixture is mixed up thoroughly and that the grain is distributed evenly throughout the bag.

You can proceed in one of two ways, you can introduce the mixed substrate to a homemade fruiting chamber (usually a modified plastic bin), or you can introduce the mixed substrate to mushroom grow bags. The vessel that you choose to grow your mushrooms in is really a matter of personal preference. Our preferred method of growing is with mushroom grow bags, as we find them easier to work with. The remainder of this tutorial will demonstrate the correct procedures for using these grow bags. Pour halfof the 5 lb. bag of mixed grain and substrate in to a brand new filter-patch bagand pour the other half of the substrate in to another brand new bag. It is best to do this step in a small, clean workspace with limited airflow. Make sure to wear gloves during this step.
Seal the bag with a mushroom bag clampand tubeapproximately two inches from the top of the bag.

Put the bag in a dark place that will maintain a temperature between 75-81°F. Disturb the bag as little as possible during this time period and do not open ituntil colonization is complete. It will take approximately 5-10 days for the substrate to completely colonize with mycelium (you will be able to tell if it has completed colonization when the substrate has turned completely white). The bag should look like the picture above. Once you reach this point, it is now time to introduce the bag to fruiting conditions.

Next Tutorial: Fruiting Conditions

Sours: https://www.shroomsupply.com/
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Bulk substrates are mildly nutritious materials used in mass mushroom cultivation. Bulk substrates are often used in conjunction with a pre-colonizedgrain spawn substrate. That spawn is then used to inoculate the bulk substrate.

Common bulk substrates[]

  • Manure (horse, cow, elephant, etc.)
  • Coconut coir is the shredded fiber of coconut husks. It holds many times its weight in water but does not decompose for years. It is PH neutral and inexpensive. Hydroponics stores and hardware stores sell it in compressed bales & pet stores sell it in dried bricks.
  • Straw
  • Worm castings
  • Compost

Creating Grain Spawn[]

Bulk substrates cannot be inoculated using liquid culture or spore solution, and so one of the first steps in a bulk grow is creating grain spawn in order to inoculate the bulk substrate.

Once your grain spawn is fully colonized it can be mixed with your pasteurized bulk substrate in a process called Spawning

Recipes for Bulk Substrate[]

While straight horse manure or straw are often used with great success, some cultivators choose to mix in different ingredients in their substrate to either create a texture and structure which will facilitate colonization, hold moisture, adjust pH, or add nutrition. Some ingredients cannot or should not be used by themselves. For example cow manure must have straw or coir added to it or else it will become like mud when wet and will not colonize properly. Worm castings are sometimes added in small amounts for nutrition, but make poor substrates by themselves because, like cow manure, they become like mud when wet, and because they are not as nutritionally balanced as cow or horse manure.

Here are a few simple recipes that can be used:

Recipe 1

  • 1 part horse poo
  • 1 part vermiculite (or coir)

Recipe 2

  • 2 part horse poo
  • 1 part vermiculite
  • 1 part coco coir

Recipe 3

  • 1 parts straw
  • 1 parts cow poo

Here is a more complicated recipe:

High Potency Recipe

  • 30 Cups Shredded Horse Manure
  • 16 Cups Vermiculite
  • 14 Cups Coco Coir
  • 4 Cups Organic Worm Castings
  • 4 Cups Garden Gypsum
  • 2 Cups Spent Coffee Grinds
  • 3 Tablespoons Kelp Meal
  • 4 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Hydrated Lime (add before hydrating)
  • A tad under 1.5 gallons Water (use best judgment after first gallon added)

(Note: This recipe was originally intended to be sterilized and fruited in spawn bags rather than pasteurized and included Wild Bird Seed. Since you will be using grain to spawn to this substrate, I figured I could remove it. To read the original tek click here)

Moisture Content of Substrates[]

Mushrooms are 90% water when fresh, and so having the proper amount of moisture in your substrate is of vital importance for Fruiting as well as colonization.

The level of proper hydration is called "Field Capacity". It is the optimum level of hydration in which the substrate is holding the maximum amount of water while not being too wet, and the minimum amount of water that is needed for proper colonization and fruiting.

To tell when your substrate is at field capacity mix in your water very thoroughly to be sure that the moisture is distributed evenly throughout. Pick up a handful of your substrate and give it a squeeze. If it is at field capacity water should drip out with a light squeeze, and a small stream of water will drip out with a hard squeeze, and no water should drip out at all if not squeezed. If it is below field capacity, water will not drip out when squeezed. If water is dripping out without any squeezing at all then you have over-saturated the substrate.

Pasteurizing Bulk Substrates[]

Bulk substrates are pasteurized rather than sterilized. Pasteurization allows certain beneficial bacteria to survive in the substrate, which prevents harmful bacteria or mold from growing.

To pasteurize a substrate it must be kept at a temperature of 160-180F for 1-3 hours. Going any higher than 180F will kill the beneficial bacteria and greatly increase your chances of contamination.

There are many different methods by which a substrate can be pasteurized such as:

  • Filling a pillow case with substrate and soaking in hot water. Then removing the pillow case from the water and allowing it to drain and cool. Pillow Case Pasteurization Tek
  • Filling a plastic "oven bag" with substrate and baking in an oven at 160-180F for 2-4 hours.

Spawning Grain to Bulk Substrate[]

Once your grain spawn is fully colonized it is ready to be spawned to the bulk substrate (note that the word "spawn" is used as a noun when referring to the colonized grain, and also a verb when referring to the act of mixing it with the bulk substrate).

  • Step 1: Put your pasteurized substrate in a container in which it can be mixed up with the spawn. This may be the intended fruiting chamber, another large plastic tub, or even the bag in which the substrate was pasteurized.
  • Step 2: Shake spawn jars so that the colonized grain is broken up and is no longer in large clumps.
  • Step 3: Mix in the spawn with the substrate as evenly as possible. If the spawn is not evenly distributed within the substrate, colonization of the bulk substrate may be uneven, causing it to take longer thus allowing more time for contaminants to grow.
  • Step 4: Place substrate in the fruiting chamber and put in a dark place so that it can colonize. Depending on how much spawn is used, colonization may take 5 days to 2 weeks. The more spawn used the faster the bulk substrate will colonize. Recommended spawn ratios are usually no less than 20% (1 part spawn to 4 parts substrate).


  • Some cultivators choose to cover the uncolonized substrate with a layer of plastic wrap or tin foil after spawning. This is done to keep moisture in the substrate, block out contaminants, and limit airflow so that higher CO2 levels simulate the conditions of the underground stage of the fungus' life cycle in nature. This is of course completely optional, and the advantage it may have can certainly be debated.
  • Since your substrate has been pasteurized, it is much more resistant to contamination than a sterilized substrate would be (ex. grain jars, or PF Jars). Spawning can be done in open air in a room that would not be clean enough for inoculation. The fact that cleanliness does not have to be so strict is a major advantage of using pasteurized substrates. However, any measures you take to ensure that spawning is done in a clean environment can ONLY decrease your chances of contamination.

Fruiting Bulk Substrate[]

After the substrate is totally colonized it is ready to be put in fruiting conditions. This requires fruiting chambers suited for bulk growing such as a monotub or double tub.

You can also use a tarp outside .

Sours: https://mycology.fandom.com/wiki/Growing_with_bulk_substrates
Bulk Substrate Colonization Timelapse

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Substrate colonization bulk

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Growing Mushrooms: Spawning to Bulk Substrate

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